By ERIK LARSON, DMV Elite Director of Scouting
BRANDYWINE, MD – McDonough (13-9) and Gwynn Park (12-10) entered the 2A South first round playoff game on Tuesday night with similar records and matched up well on the floor. Gwynn Park played the game without their leading scorer Jalen Harris who accounts for 18 points per game. It would take a full team effort to allow the Yellow Jackets to win this contest by the score 49-40.
The first half was dominated by McDonough’s point guard Marqel Austin (19 points), a 5’7 senior who was able to control the tempo of the game. He drove to the basket at will and finished with pull up jumpers and floaters over bigger players. He showed the ability to lead his team who was less talented and his ball handling made it difficult for Gwynn Park to pressure the ball. He performed as a one man fast break for most of the first half and was able to get his team out to a 26-20 lead.
The Yellow Jackets were able to turn the second half led by Ackhel Bazil who scored 8 points, but his effort was crucial for the win. Ackhel, a 6’5 senior forward, was the emotional leader and owned the paint on both ends of the floor. Either by blocking shots or rebounding (18 rebounds), he limited possessions for the Rams and provided the emotional boost Gwynn Park needed to pull away in the second half.
Other contributors for the Yellow Jackets included Cedric Hines (13 points), Rashawn Boyd (6 points, 15 rebounds) and Isaiah Martin (6 points). Hines, a 5’9 junior guard has 3 point range and was able to drive the paint and finish. Boyd, a 6’4 senior forward, rebounded well and defended very well. Martin, a 6’6 junior, showed he has a great shooting touch and the length to make a difference in the paint on defense.
Gwynn Park’s will line up at Oakland Mills on Thursday night in Columbia. Coach Michael Glick said he was unsure if Jalen Harris would return for the game.