Old Mill beat its second ranked team in three games, but the Patriots had to weather a last-minute comeback by host and No. 16 Northeast to prevail, 69-64, in an Anne Arundel County non-league game last night.
Old Mill (10-3) held a seemingly safe 64-54 lead over the cold-shooting Eagles (9-3) with 1 minute, 56 seconds left, then proceeded to make things interesting from the free-throw line.
Old Mill, which had upset second-ranked Annapolis, 68-62, Tuesday, missed the front ends of four straight one-and-one opportunities in the last 1:29.
Northeast capitalized with an 8-0 run, capped by baskets off steals by Craig Everett and Steve Strauss, to slice the gap to 64-62 with 38 seconds left.
The Eagles had an opportunity to at least tie when Old Mill's Ravon Austin missed his third straight front end of a one-and-one, but teammate Shawn Craig got inside for the rebound and was fouled by Kevin Mursch on the play.
Mursch was assessed an intentional foul, but Northeast was still alive after Terrell Eldridge -- shooting for the injured Craig -- missed one of the free throws and Nijui Truesdale threw away the ensuing inbounds pass.
However, Everett missed from three-point range with 13 seconds left and Old Mill's Damion Sewell was fouled on the rebound. His free throws opened a 67-62 lead for the Patriots before Everett and Truesdale traded meaningless scores in the last seconds.
"We're pleased we had the opportunity to win after digging such a big hole," said Northeast coach John Barbour, whose team trailed, 46-30, midway through the third quarter, "but we're a little disappointed with the outcome -- naturally."
Barbour pointed to cold shooting (24 of 88, 27 percent) as the main reason for the defeat. Old Mill was much better (28 of 66, 42 percent).
The Patriots recovered from a rocky start to hit 18 of 34 field-goal attempts en route to building a 38-28 lead at the outset of the third quarter.
Later, came the woes from the free-throw line.
"I don't know what happened because normally we're a good free-throw team," said coach Paul Bunting, "but I thought we played pretty good defense against those guys [Northeast]. They're usually a pretty good shooting team."
Bunting alternated Will Crowner and Sewell in limiting Eagles leading scorer Steve Strauss to 12 points on five-of-21 shooting, including just one of 10 from three-point range.