Above: Severn stars Jermaine Hall (left), AJ Burch and LJ Owens combined for 49 points in the Admirals’ victory over the Eagles.
No. 16 Admirals forge a three-way tie for first with the Eagles and No. 19 Gerstell; playoff breakdown for MIAA seeds here (VIDEO HERE!!)
by Joe DiBlasi
Midway through January the Severn School boys’ basketball team slumped, losing three of four games, to end what had been a 14-game winning streak at that time. The final setback in that stretch was a 60-58 road loss to Indian Creek, dropping the Admirals from first place into third in the MIAA B Conference standings.
Fast forward to Valentine’s Day and No. 16 Severn entered its rematch with No. 15 Indian Creek School red hot once again, and the Admirals routed the visiting Eagles, 55-29, to stretch their current winning streak to eight. More importantly, Severn (23-5 overall) improved to 12-3 in the conference, forging a three-way tie for first place in the league, with Indian Creek and No. 19 Gerstell Academy.
On Wednesday, Severn raced out to a 10-0 lead, and the never look back. LJ Owens, Jermaine Hall and AJ Burch combined for 49 points to lead the Admirals’ offense.
Owens led all scores with 23 points, Hall had 15 and Burch added 11. Khyion Washington lead the Eagles with 10.
Severn will close its regular season schedule on Friday at home against St. Mary’s, while Gerstell plays at Archbishop Curley and Indian Creek will close at Friends School. All three are favored to win and if they do, the tie-break will come down to least points allowed in head-t0-head games. This is a MIAA tie-breaker specific to basketball, utlized when all other tie-breaks have been exhausted.
All three league leaders split their match-ups with each other and all three suffered a loss to reigning league champ and 18th-ranked St. Paul’s School, which defeated St. John’s Catholic Prep, 75-41, to finish its league schedule at 12-4. Thus, there are no traditional MIAA tie-break advantages for any of the three top teams, should they all finish tied for first. The same is true if one of them is upset. There will be no tie-break between the two remaining teams. If it stays a three-way tie, Severn would be the top-seed (185 points allowed head-to-head with Gerstell and Indian Creek), Indian Creek (245 points allowed) would be second and Gerstell (249 points allowed would be third).
Severn coach VJ Keith talked about the matchup on Friday with St Mary’s.
“St. Mary’s plays tough, and it’s a rivalry game, so it won’t be easy,” said Keith.
The high-scoring Owens, who surpassed 2,000 career points just a few weeks ago, said, “We executed that game plan and got it done tonight. In our last game (against Indian Creek) we were getting beat off the dribble, and this game we wanted to stop that.”
Keith explained the key to avenging the earlier loss to Coach Josh Pratt’s talented team.
“We played a lot of zone defense and they had very few dribble penetrations,” said Keith. “That was our goal. Offensively we worked the ball and we were patient.”
“We knew we had to lock in on defense. Every game is about defense. We know we can score points, we just needed to make stops and we did.”
Hall said the key to the offensive explosion was the team’s ability to work the ball around.
“We moved the ball, and we reversed the ball and it opened up a our 3’s,” said Hall. “Coach told us the gaps were wide open, and I was flashing to the high post and getting my jumper off.”
Beyond the top four teams, Curley is locked in as the fifth-seed, while Chapelgate Christian (4-11) will host St. John’s Catholic Prep (5-10) on Friday in a winner take all battle for the final playoff spot. If SJCP wins, it will take sixth place outright. If Chapelgate wins, the two teams will finished tied, but Chapelgate will advance because it would have then swept the Vikings this year.
NO. 16 SEVERN SCHOOL 55, NO. 15 INDIAN CREEK SCHOOL 29
ICS 6 10 4 9 — 29
SEV 14 17 17 7 — 55
SEVERN: Owens. 23, Hall 15, Burch 11. Terry 6.
INDIAN CREEK: K. Washington 10, Lewis 3, Collier 5,
McKinney 8, Rakshys 3.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said that a three-way tie for first place would be broken by a coin flip. This was incorrect. VSN regrets this error.