BRANDYWINE – The Gwynn Park boys’ basketball team just keeps buzzing along. The Yellow Jackets stung yet another opponent and made a statement by moving into the final four of the MPSSAA 2A state playoffs with their victory over Westlake 79-69. Justin Faison led the way for Gwynn Park by scoring 27 points and was […]
BRANDYWINE – The Gwynn Park boys’ basketball team just keeps buzzing along.
The Yellow Jackets stung yet another opponent and made a statement by moving into the final four of the MPSSAA 2A state playoffs with their victory over Westlake 79-69.
Justin Faison led the way for Gwynn Park by scoring 27 points and was a stinger in Westlake’s side for the entire second half. He scored 18 of his 27 points in the final 16 minutes, including 10 free throws.
But the win wasn’t entirely easy.
The game started off close with Gwynn Park holding a 15-14 lead after the first. Isaiah Miles scored eight points in the opening quarter before getting into foul trouble. That allowed Westlake to stay in the game, along with a Stephen Curry-like buzzer beater by Jeff Simmons.
The second quarter was when both teams needed a player to step up. Fortunately for Gwynn Park that player was Marlon White. White erupted for 14 second quarter points and helped his team take a 39-31 lead into the break.
“Basically I only needed one shot to hit for me to really gain my confidence. Once that first shot went in, my teammates kept giving me confidence and told me ‘keep shooting it, keep shooting it.’ And when I got it I shot the ball with confidence and they started dropping,” White said.
The second half was when Faison took over. He made a living at the free throw line by blowing by defenders off the dribble and constantly drawing contact on his way to the rim.
“Whenever a person on our team is going off, coach always says that means someone else is going to go off in the next quarter,” Faison said. “Marlon was going off in the first half and I guess the second half was mine, so we kept attacking.
“After the Roosevelt game everyone said my shot wasn’t falling, so I got back in the gym and kept working and the practice paid off tonight. I used to have troubles shooting free throws, but my three ball was good. So tonight I buckled down and made sure both of them are knocked down.”
The score was 62-52 in favor of Gwynn Park heading into the final quarter and the Yellow Jackets were determined to put the game away. CJ Miller was once again the hero defensively and, like many games this season, took away the opponent’s top scorer while adding six points of his own.
“I think CJ Miller did a phenomenal job on [Everett] Mouton and that just has to be mentioned. His defense was impeccable,” Gwynn Park Head Coach Mike Glick said.
“Our league prepared us for this. The trials and tribulations and battles we have in our league prepared us for this moment. No tougher league. Nobody’s had a tougher road to get here than us.”
Gwynn Park is now only two wins away from a state championship and will play Friday at the Xfinity Center in College Park.
“All weekend we’re going to celebrate, but starting Monday we’re back in there to get our state championship that we all want,” Faison said.