Patriots even conference record

BASKETBALL Fort Meade 74, Joint Base Andrews 66

Patriot forward Brian Burns (No. 22) shoots free throws with less than a minute to go at Saturday’s game.

After opening the 2018 Washington Area Military Athletic Conference basketball season with two losses, the Fort Meade Patriots varsity basketball team has won two straight, heading into the annual Presidents Day weekend WAMAC Capital Classic tournament.

The Patriots defeated Joint Base Andrews, 74-66, Saturday at Murphy Field House.

The win evens the Patriots conference record to 2-2, good for fifth place. That stat, however, may be deceiving as the Patriots have only played four games while some teams have played as many as seven.

Everyone trails Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. They top the standings with a 5-1 record.

Saturday, the Patriots led by 3 at halftime, 31-28. They led by as many as 12 in the second half before securing the 8-point win.

“The defense did real well, the 2-3 (zone) and man-to-man [defenses] we were in,” Patriot forward Brian Burns said. “We talked a lot, got a lot of deflections and defensive rebounds — really pushed the ball.

“We also cut back a lot on our turnovers in the second half. The last couple of minutes we couldn’t quite put them away, but we made our free throws in the end to seal the game.”

Patriots teammate Ryan McGhee-Coleman agreed.

“They’re a good team and we’re kind of young, so we make bonehead mistakes at times,” he said. “But we stay together. It’s a growing pain for us, but we’re getting better each game. So, I like where we’re going.”

On Presidents Day weekend, the Patriots are going to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall for the annual WAMAC Capital Classic Basketball Tournament. The tournament features military teams from around the mid-Atlantic region through Friday.

And the prospects for improving on last year’s second-place finish? It’s all about improving defense.

“I think our confidence is real high,” Burns said. “We have some real high-energy guys that we bring off the bench and play good defense.”

Fort Meade’s regular season resumes Feb. 24 against Fort Belvoir. Tip-off is at 1 p.m. at Murphy Field House.

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