ANNAPOLIS -- Fast-break offense has been the cornerstone of Annapolis basketball for years, but last night the Panthers showed they can play the half-court game and some pretty decent defense as well.
No. 2 Annapolis held visiting and eighth-ranked Broadneck scoreless for nine minutes and again for the last six, beating the Bruins, 43-36, in an Anne Arundel County 4A Bay Division game before a sellout crowd of more than 1,200.
The Panthers (9-0, 4-0) survived their sternest test this season and are undefeated in 21 games since losing to Dunbar last Jan 26.
The top-ranked Poets and the defending state 4A champion Panthers will meet again Jan. 19 in Annapolis.
Although his team was held 53 points below its season's average, coach John Brady believes it is still right on track.
"I was pretty pleased with the way we played. We held our poise well, paid attention and did what we had to do," Brady said.
Then, there was the slow tempo.
"It's hard to get a run when they keep coming down and playing deliberate. But it's only their game if they win it," Brady said. "It's easy to control the tempo and slow it down, but we outscored them, and the bottom line is W and L."
Annapolis trailed through most of the first quarter but put the clamps on Broadneck after the Bruins (8-2, 3-1) opened an 18-14 lead on Jeff Vincent's three-pointer.
Broadneck was held scoreless for just over nine minutes, as the Panthers scored 12 unanswered points, eight by Dennis Edwards.
Annapolis led, 28-22, at halftime and 36-32 entering the fourth quarter. Then, after the Bruins pulled into a 36-36 tie on two Damain Spain free throws with 5 minutes, 58 seconds left, Annapolis buckled down again.
Broadneck was held without a point from there, as the winners pulled away on Edwards' baseline drive and 4-for-4 free-throw shooting by Rob Wooster.
"We played the game at the pace we wanted, but didn't cash in," said Broadneck coach Ken Kazmarek, whose Bruins were 14 of 55 (25 percent) from the floor.
"We didn't shoot as well as I'd like, but overall I'm pleased. We came down here in a pressure-packed atmosphere and held our own," Kazmarek said. "It's just that their defense tends to bring out your weaknesses. We had to shoot well, but their quick D kept us from doing that."
Annapolis had a game-high 16 points from Edwards and 10 from Delmore Howard, plus 10 points and 12 rebounds from Wooster, as it controlled the boards, 38-31.
Broadneck had 11 points from point guard Johnny Williams, but he committed a turnover and missed a three-pointer and a layup in the last 1:06.
Brady believed that the second quarter was the key, however.
"We scored 14 points in that quarter, and that's pretty good when they [Broadneck] stay deliberate," he said. "With that kind of pace, a 14-4 margin is pretty good."