Great Mills boys cruise to win over Patux­ent

Brooks’ six dunks help Great Mills boys bas­ket­ball beat Patux­ent

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JOHN NISWANDER jniswan­[email protected]­news.com

Great Mills boys bas­ket­ball head coach Jeff Bur­rell knows as the mid­dle of Jan­uary ap­proaches, each game be­comes that much more im­por­tant for ev­ery­one in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

“It is SMAC time now where every sin­gle game counts a lit­tle bit more than the ones in the non­con­fer­ence,” Bur­rell said. “So we are ex­cited any­time we get one of these ‘W’s.”

The Hor­nets did get a ‘W’ on Wed­nes­day night at home over the vis­it­ing Patux­ent Pan­thers, 69-22, in a bat­tle of two SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake Divi­sion teams.

“Tonight we played pretty de­cent. I was happy with the ef­fort and the in­ten­sity. It is al­ways good to get a nice home win,” Bur­rell said. “I was happy to see the crowd on a Wed­nes­day com­ing out like this. That was a re­ally cool thing.”

De­spite the lop­sided score, Great Mills’ fans were treated to six thun­der­ous slam dunks cour­tesy of ju­nior big man Do­minic “Max” Brooks.

“[Dunk­ing] is just a fun thing,” Brooks said. “Two points is two points. I just do it for the crowd.”

Early on, Great Mills (63, 1-0 SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake) was able to put pres­sure on a young Patux­ent team by em­ploy­ing a full-court press that forced the Pan­thers into some turnovers.

“We were just over­matched. Great Mills has some very good and tal­ented ath­letes,” Pan­thers head coach RJ Buck said. “I have to com­mend them, they played a great game tonight.”

Buck called a time­out with 5 min­utes 21 sec­onds re­main­ing in the first quar­ter as the Hor­nets raced out to an early 9-0 lead.

“It was good to see our guys play­ing bet­ter to­gether. That is what I got out of tonight,” Bur­rell said.

The Pan­thers strug­gled to score in the first quar­ter and at one point trailed 21-2 late in the open­ing frame.

“Go­ing into the game I knew that if we didn’t do a good job on the glass, then we were go­ing to strug­gle,” Buck said. “Great Mills did a great job on the glass, and we strug­gled on the glass. That is what led to the out­come of the game.”

Brooks’ first slam dunk of the night put the Hor­nets ahead 23-3 with 90 sec­onds left in the first quar­ter, a two-handed slam to the roar of cheers from the home crowd.

Later in the quar­ter, Ja­mari Jor­dan of Great Mills

tried his own two-handed jam that rimmed off, but Brooks was there to clean up the miss with his sec­ond slam dunk of the open­ing quar­ter with a huge smile across his face.

“Tonight was a fun game. They were an all right team, we just played good bas­ket­ball all around,” Brooks said.

The Hor­nets led 31-6 af- ter one quar­ter with four dif­fer­ent play­ers scor­ing points, in­clud­ing Brooks with 10, se­nior Troy Her­bert and fresh­man Isiah Mills adding nine each and Ter­rell Kent with three.

“Tonight was a good win,” Her­bert said. “I try to get my team­mates in­volved, but also get my scor­ing too and work on re­bound­ing, box­ing out and be­ing good all around.”

The Pan­thers be­gan the sec­ond quar­ter outscor­ing the Hor­nets 4-2 in the open­ing two min­utes and Bur­rell called his first time­out of the game with 6:20 left in the first half with Great Mills ahead 33-10.

Out of the time­out, the Hor­nets went on a 12-5 run as Brooks was able to throw down two more dunks to help push the lead to 30 points at half­time, 45-15.

In the sec­ond half, Patux­ent strug­gled to score as it only scored seven in the third quar­ter and were shut out on the score­board in the fourth.

“We are still try­ing to find our­selves. We are a young team and have a lot of sopho­mores and some ju­niors. A lot of our guys are in­ex­pe­ri­enced bas­ket­ball play­ers,” Buck said. “Right now, it is just a process of al­low­ing them to grow through these games and get­ting the play­ing ex­pe­ri­ence they need to get to grow and be­come bet­ter.”

Sopho­more Ki­mani Brown led Patux­ent with nine points, while ju­nior AJ John­son and se­nior Noah Bibb each added four.

“Right now, they are learn­ing to ma­ture. We are in the ma­tur­ing stage with a lot of young guys,” Buck said. “Their ma­tu­rity lev­els are grow­ing each and every day and that is what I love to see. We are just grow­ing up.”

Great Mills outscored the Pan­thers 24-7 in the sec­ond half as Brooks scored a game-high 18 points, Her­bert had 15 and Mills added 12, in­clud­ing two threes.

“The be­gin­ning of the sea­son wasn’t that great and was a lit­tle rough, but we have started win­ning games in a row and we are pick­ing it up down the stretch now,” Her­bert said.

The Hor­nets are sched­uled to host North­ern at 6:30 tonight.

“Long-term goals we want to find our­selves in a po­si­tion com­pet­ing for a SMAC cham­pi­onship, but short-term we go game by game,” Bur­rell said. “We want to make sure we are as pre­pared as pos­si­ble for North­ern and then go from there.”

STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN NISWANDER

Jalil Ford from Great Mills scores a bas­ket over Patux­ent ju­nior Quentin Boakye for two of his seven points dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of Wed­nes­day night’s home win for the Hor­nets, 69-22.

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