On paper, last night's boys basketball game between No. 4 Annapolis and unranked Arundel was a mismatch.
On the court, however, it was more like a grudge match as the host Panthers (6-1) had to claw their way to an 83-60 victory over the Wildcats to remain unbeaten in Anne Arundel County league play.
"We could have ended it a lot sooner than we did, but we'd come down the floor, get an easy shot, and mishandle the ball," said Annapolis coach John Brady, whose Panthers struggled in the early going but still led at the half, 44-28.
"Fatigue worked in our favor at the end," he added. "We play more people than most teams and when they have to leave their people in there, eventually they're going to get tired."
Annapolis, whose only loss came to Cardoza of Washington, D.C., in the finals of the Capital City Classic, looked sloppy at the outset, giving Arundel hope. It was down just 18-17 after the first quarter.
Five second-quarter turnovers coupled with Annapolis' 9-for-15 performance from the floor dug a 14-point hole for the Wildcats.
Arundel (3-6) pulled to within 11 twice in the fourth quarter following layups by Rich Abrams (13) and Graham Niemi (11), but never posed a real threat.
Senior Marvin Brown led the way for the Panthers with a game-high 22 points, followed by Lozonnah James (16) and B.J. Gross (12).
Annapolis' go-to man Rob Wooster spent much the game as a spectator due to foul trouble, but still managed to score 11 points.
"My team is a bunch of nice boys and I love them, but on the hardwood you have to be nasty," said Arundel coach Gerald Moore. "The bottom line is, Annapolis has tradition. They're not going to let a team like us come in here and upset them. It's hard to upset them and that's a tribute to Brady and his assistants."