Guard Brayon Freeman scored 21 points with five rebounds and four assists to help lead the Southern Maryland Cardinals to a 78-67 victory over the Montgomery Yellowjackets in the Premiere Youth Basketball League summer season championship game on Aug. 20 at DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md.
Southern Maryland head coach David Baskin draws up game plan for Cardinals players.
Southern Maryland easily proved why it was regarded as the best team of the summer season, controlling the championship game from the start and leading by double digits most of the way. Montgomery did manage to briefly cut into the Cardinals lead in the second half, trailing by just four points during one stretch of the third quarter. But Southern Maryland eventually opened its lead back up to a comfortable margin, cruising to the win.
While Freeman, 14, was named Most Outstanding Player of the Game for his performance, it was still an outstanding effort from the entire team. Thirteen-year-old Devon Savage led the Cardinals in points scored with 22 on 9-of-10 shooting, while forward 12-year-old Trevor Keels added nearly a double-double of 11 points with nine rebounds; forward Julius Ellerbee, 14, had a game-high 12 assists.
The championship victory marked the first time in the history of the program that Southern Maryland was able to claim the title.
“We had a goal at the beginning of the season and we took care of business,” said David Baskin, the head coach of the Cardinals since 2013.
Baskin led the Cardinals to the summer season championship game back in 2014, but his team fell short in a loss to the Prince George’s Stallions. The Cardinals advanced deep into the playoffs of both the summer and winter seasons in 2015, only to lose in the semifinals. But finally, after six long seasons, Baskin’s team experienced the glory of victory.
“I feel good for him, man. I’m real proud of him,” said James Parker, founder and commissioner of the Premiere Youth Basketball League.
Parker and his wife, Tarren, created the league in 2013 to offer a platform for middle school youth to play basketball at a high-quality level. The league showcases two seasons: one in the summer and one in the winter. Baskin has been with the league since the very start, joining as a head coach when he was only 23 years old. He remains committed to guiding youth on and off the court, something rare for a man of his age.
Commissioner Parker knows how much winning the championship means to Baskin, now 27.
“It’s been a long road for him. It’s been real stressful at times,” Parker said. “His team lost in the championship two years ago. So to see him finally get the title, I’m just so proud.”