Severn's boys basketball team did the expected yesterday, defending its Laker Invitational Tournament title at Boys' Latin.
The Admirals overcame the pressure that goes with being the team to beat and defeated Friends, 50-40, to repeat as champions.
"We didn't play real well today, but it's hard for a team when you're supposed to win and everyone expects you to win, you can't help but to feel the pressure a little bit," said Severn coach Jim Doyle. "Fortunately, I think we showed the signs of good team and found a way to win."
With Chris Pitkin crashing the boards and tournament MVP Jamand Mack running the floor, Severn raced out to an 18-13 first-quarter lead.
That lead quickly vanished in the second quarter with Friends slowing things down and forcing the Admirals to run their half-court offense.
The Admirals' offense grew impatient against the Quakers' zone defense, resulting in some shots that had Doyle furiously rearranging the furniture at courtside.
"Our shot selection wasn't good," said Doyle, "but again, I think the guys were feeling the pressure of being supposed to win."
While the Admirals were floundering, Friends' offense was thriving behind the hot hand of senior forward Spencer Deering.
Deering, who was named to the all-tournament team along with teammate John Miles and Severn's Brad Fowler, scored six unanswered points in the second quarter to pull the Quakers to within one. Sean Armstrong's three-pointer and a foul shot by Miles gave the Quakers a 25-22 lead with 4:17 left in the half.
A three-pointer by Fowler from well beyond the top of the key put the Admirals back on top and a pair of steals by James Carpenter resulted in routine layups for Mack, who scored all of his team-high 18 points in the first half.
Both teams looked sloppy in the third quarter, but the Admirals could afford to be with a seven-point lead.
It was nearly three minutes into the fourth quarter before the turnover-prone Quakers took a shot to cut the lead to 40-35. A three-pointer by Deering brought Friends within a field goal, but that was as close the Quakers would come.
Fowler ended a 5:26 fourth-quarter field-goal drought for Severn, which hit four of five shots in the waning seconds to preserve the victory.
"We pretty much stopped them with our half-court defense, but they're just so quick, every time there is a turnover, they convert," said Friends coach Randy Cooper. "You have to try and slow this team down because they really generate their offense off of the fast break and its tough to stay with them."
In the third-place consolation game, Gilman rallied from a 31-28 halftime deficit to defeat St. Paul's, 67-60.
Jimmy Fields led the Greyhounds with 23 points and teammate Ronnie Crockett added 18. Fields was named to the all-tournament team along with St. Paul's Michael Watson, who finished with a team-high 19 points.