For the past few years Annapolis, Broadneck and Meade have been the dominant teams in Anne Arundel County's 4A boys basketball league, but last week Old Mill stepped to the forefront with upset victories over ranked teams Annapolis and Northeast.
Despite starting the season with only two players with varsity experience, the Patriots (10-3) have surged to the top of the Anne Arundel County 4A League's Friendship Division (4-0) and this week made their first appearance in area's top 20 rankings -- at No. 15.
The Patriots are 8-0 against 4A teams in the county and have beaten all three of the top 20 teams they have faced (Annapolis, Northeast and Meade).
"Can you believe these guys?" coach Paul Bunting asked after Old Mill won its sixth straight, 69-64, Friday at Northeast.
That's a question a number of people probably are asking, because Old Mill is not impressive at first glance. The Patriots are neither tall nor especially fast.
"We don't run as well as Annapolis, and you haven't seen us score 100 points [the average is 68.5]. And we don't slow it down," Bunting said. "What we try to do is make intelligent decisions. If we have a break, we take it. If we don't, we don't."
The Patriots are an unselfish team. They had different leading scorers in the wins over Annapolis (Shawn Craig, 17), Chesapeake (Damion Sewell, 16) and Northeast (Ravon Austin, 16). Sewell (12.8), Austin (11.6) and Nijui Truesdale (10.9) average in double figures.
"Everybody always talks about Annapolis, Meade and Broadneck, but this puts us up there with them," Craig said. "We've shown we can play with all of them."
Said Bunting, who is 43-18 over the past three years: "The kids now believe we're pretty decent. We're maybe not the best team around, but we're not going to bow down or lie down for anybody."
Old Mill gets another shot at a ranked opponent Friday night when it plays host to No. 8 Broadneck at 7.
Old Mill-Broadneck is one of several big games Friday. The biggest features No. 1 Dunbar (15-1) at No. 2 Southern (9-3) at 3:30 p.m. in a non-division matchup of Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference teams.
In another important Anne Arundel County 4A League game, No. 4 Annapolis (11-2) is at Meade (12-3) at 7 p.m. In an Anne Arundel County 2A/3A League game, No. 17 Northeast (9-3, 1-1) travels to Southern (9-2, 1-1) at 7:15 p.m. In a Baltimore County 3A/4A showdown, No. 6 Catonsville (12-0, 10-0) plays host to No. 20 Woodlawn (9-3, 9-2).
There also are two important MSA B Conference games Friday. No. 19 Edmondson (4-3, 1-1) plays host to Carver (4-2, 3-0), which leads Division I, and Northern (4-4, 2-0) plays host to Forest Park (4-3, 2-0) in a showdown for first place in Division II.
There also are two pivotal girls games Friday. In a Baltimore County 3A/4A contest, Catonsville (12-1, 11-0) travels to No. 8 Woodlawn (11-0, 11-0) at 3:30 p.m. Two of Anne Arundel County's top 4A teams meet in a non-division game at 5:15 p.m., when No. 10 Broadneck (9-4) travels to No. 5 Old Mill (12-1).
Defending champion St. Mark's (Del.) heads the field for the sixth annual Gilman Duals wrestling tournament Saturday LTC beginning at 10 a.m. at the Redmond C.S. Finney Athletic Center on the Gilman campus.
Among the other teams competing are Blair Academy (N.J.), the 1989 champion and former national champion; Woodberry Forest, a 1990 Virginia state champion, and DeMatha, the defending national champion.
Heading the list of area teams competing are No. 3 Owings Mills, last year's runner-up; No. 6 Gilman and No. 10 Aberdeen.
Records, streaks, milestones: Randallstown's 33-27 win over Perry Hall on Tuesday ended Perry Hall's 36-match streak varsity wrestling against Baltimore County teams.
Overtime: North County athletic director Mike Baker is accepting applications for the position of head baseball coach. Dennie DeWitt, 39, cited unspecified, but non-life-threatening health reasons for resigning after nine seasons (97-86-2). He is on a leave of absence from his position as a physical-education teacher in elementary schools.