Posted On: 02/15/20 4:38 PM

The Gilman Hounds wrapped up their season on Friday evening with a win over Annapolis Area Christian. The win lifted their record to 17-9 overall and a 14-5 mark in MIAA play, which cemented their top positioning in the black division heading into the playoffs. They’ll host a tough Archbishop Spalding team in the quarterfinals. One thing that Gilman has going for them is a six-game winning streak in conference play and chemistry that seems to keep improving with every contest.

Prior to the season, not many thought that Gilman would experience this amount of success. With a roster full of young, inexperienced players that make up the rotation, it makes their run to the top of their division even more impressive.

The Hounds overcame adversity midway through the season after losing 2021 wing Malik Missouri, who was sidelined for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Missouri was a key piece of their rotation and a starter, which meant someone had to step up and replace his production. That player was 2022 guard Jalen Marshall.

“Coming into the season I just figured I’d be coming off the bench and playing defense and then when Malik went down, I had to step up,” Marshall told Prep Hoops following a win over McDonogh last week. “I spent long hours after practice with Coach Gately just getting up shots and now I’m playing big minutes and defending the other team’s best player most of the time.”

The MIAA is stacked with talent at the point guard position. If you aren’t going up against an experienced, savvy junior or senior it means you’re matching up against a highly-touted freshman or sophomore. For Marshall to take on that duty and do so effectively has been noteworthy.

For Marshall, it’s about the confidence he’s gained throughout this time. Early on in the season Marshall was strictly a driver when it came to scoring. More often now, you see him finding openings in the defense around the perimeter and when he has enough time, letting shots go beyond the arc. As the season has progressed, so has his efficiency from deep.

“I really didn’t know what I was going to be coming into the season,” Marshall continued, “no part of my game is perfect so I’m always trying to improve every aspect of it. We have two really good guards that attack in Jordan Foster and Christian Winborne. If they don’t have a lay up, they’re always looking for open shooters so I always have to be ready.”

If Marshall becomes a consistent three-point threat, it will only make this Gilman team even more difficult to guard. Teams defend Marshall with a ton of respect for his ability to get to the rim. Hitting open shots will force the defense to guard him everywhere on the floor, hence opening driving lanes for both himself and his teammates.

As a team Gilman has been rolling and the chemistry is clicking. Marshall spoke on what will be the focus as postseason play tips off on Tuesday:

“We just have to take it one game at a time. We have a great record and that’s all good but once we step on the court that doesn’t mean anything. We just have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing with that same intensity and we’ll be able to play with anybody.”