The youth movement initiated by Old Mill girls basketball coach Pat Chance in 1988-89 is paying off this season.
That was underscored last night, as Old Mill, which has only two seniors on a 13-player roster, dominated host Severna Park in virtually every aspect of the game to win, 70-57, and claim sole possession of first place in the Anne Arundel County 4A League.
The No. 8 Patriots (10-1, 6-0) and the seventh-ranked Falcons (7-2, 5-1) still lead their respective county divisions with 4-0 marks. But despite Chance's cautious remarks, Old Mill is in command of the league race.
"I can't tell too much from tonight's game. We played poor defense, I'll tell you that, and we turned the ball over [20 times] too much," said Chance, even though her Patriots trailed only after the game's first basket. "But that's young kids."
And some of the youngest did most of the damage to Severna Park. Sophomore guard Stacy Himes scored a team-high 16 points, and junior forward Cindy Davenport added 12 and as many rebounds.
Senior guard Sandy Johnson ignored a thigh injury to score 13 off the bench. Eight of her total, including two three-point goals, came in a 14-5 run that broke open the game shortly before halftime.
Severna Park's Tina Riley had a county-record six three-point goals (on eight attempts) and led all scorers with 21 points, but it wasn't enough.
They committed 28 turnovers, lost three starters on fouls in sending Old Mill to the free-throw line for 52 shots, hit only 29 percent (23 of 77) of their field-goal attempts and were out-rebounded, 48-46.
Severna Park held the edge in field goals, 23-19, but the difference came at the foul line. Old Mill hit 30 of its 52 attempts, the losers were just 3-for-16.
"Today, we didn't get it," Severna Park coach Kevin McGrath said. "I don't know how many times they were on the foul line and still got the rebound when we had inside position.
"We were out of control because we weren't ready to play at the faster pace. And, this is probably the worst foul trouble we've had since I've been here [11 years]."