Earlier this season, Boris Beck, Broadneck's transplanted 7-foot-2 East German center, appeared lost on the basketball court.
In the second game of the season, a 45-42 loss to Meade, he scored just one point and grabbed three rebounds. He looked bewildered when called forseveral three-second violations after standing in the lane for what seemed like eternities.
Opposing players showed little respect for the rangy senior, taking advantage of his inexperience with bold drives to the basket.
Beck started off the year as the butt of some jokes. Friday he was kicking some of the former and hearing none of the latter in the Bruins'69-60 victory over host Meade (15-5).
The slender European scoreda game-high 20 points with six rebounds and three ferocious slam-dunks.
"He understands the game a lot better, and he's been able to work very hard in practice," said Broadneck coach Ken Kazmarek, whose Bruins improved to 16-4.
"My teammates have been picking me up with their words -- when I play well, they tell me so," said Beck, a senior. "And a friend of mine said he'd give me a cheeseburger at McDonald's for every dunk I got tonight."
In the first meeting between Meade and Broadneck, the other Beck -- Meade's David -- sank a pair offree throws with three seconds left to secure the victory.
But Friday, David Beck stayed fairly quiet until landing back-to-back three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Finishing with 12 points, he helped bring the Mustangs to within five, 63-58, before fouling out with under a minute left in the game.
Broadneck held its biggest lead, 57-44, midway through the fourth quarter. But the Mustangs stormed back behind Ron Hubbard, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the period.
But Broadneck guards John Williams (10 points) and reserve Chris Ricks (five) controlled the tempo down the stretch, as they had for most of the night, and Beck slammed home his final points for a 67-60 leadthat signaled the end for the Mustangs.
"It's been the same way all year," Meade coach Butch Young said. "We've had 13 different players who score in double figures at times, and I spend the first few minutes of every game trying to see who's going to play and who's not."
Brian Parker, Dorien Fullilove, Luis Morales, Steve Mackey and Chris Botulinski finished with six points apiece for Meade.
Coming off the bench with 4 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter and the game tied, 4-4, Beck didn't take long making his presence known. His shot over Meade's 6-foot-8 Brian Parker sparked a 6-0 run which led to a 10-4 Bruins lead.
At the other end, he swatted a shot by Lance Taylor into the stands. A subsequent field goal attempt bya Meade player was forced -- and missed --with Beck standing in his face.
Beck finished the period with eight points -- including a two-handed dunk, lifting the Bruins to a 20-11 first-quarter lead.
"Beck's just a much better player than he was the first time around," Young said. "Back then, he wasn't capable of doing the things he was doing tonight."
Beck was coming off of a a pair of big performances, scoring 20 and 22 points, respectively, in victories over North County (57-40) and Arundel (61-56).
Beck made some mistakes Friday: a couple of traveling calls, four fouls and just two points in the second period. But teammates Damian Spain (13 points) and Matt Weimer (six) picked up the slack.
Broadneck came into the game with 88 Class 4A Region IV playoff points, behind Meade (101) and Annapolis and Old Mill (tied for first with 107).
Beck and the talented Bruins are looking tough.