The team is unusually young and sometimes unpredictable. But when confronted with a rigorous week of games, No. 4 Annapolis showed it won't easily surrender its traditional role as Anne Arundel County's best entry.
The visiting Panthers used their outside shooting to build a 16-point halftime lead, then withstood a rally from No. 17 Old Mill to prevail, 64-52, last night in a Friendship Division game.
Annapolis, with five sophomores on its roster, has won five straight since losing to Cardozo of Washington in the finals of the Capital City Classic last month. Included are victories over Chesapeake on Monday and Broadneck on Wednesday -- two teams, along with Old Mill, deemed capable of possibly upsetting the Panthers.
"This was a real good week for us," said Annapolis coach John Brady. "We played three good teams and two were on the road. We had very little prep time in between."
Annapolis (2-0 in division, 9-1 overall) made one more field goal than Old Mill, but nine came from beyond the three-point arc. The Patriots (1-1, 8-3) didn't hit a three-pointer the entire night.
Playing without leading scorer Ravon Austin because of a knee injury, Old Mill still managed to reduce an 18-point third-quarter deficit to six points with a couple minutes left in the game, as the Panthers' found less success from the perimeter in the second half.
"They went to a zone and we got passive," Brady said. "We were standing around, we weren't getting the fast break. That's why I'm over there going, 'Hey, call something, run something.' Nobody was taking charge."
Runs of 7-0 and 9-0 helped Annapolis to a 22-14 lead after one quarter. Old Mill then went 1-of-17 from the floor in the second quarter, while four different Panthers hit three-pointers to expand the lead.
On the verge of being blown out, Old Mill went on a 10-0 run late in the third quarter. But Annapolis' Rob Wooster and Juan Johnson each hit a three-pointer in the final minute to give the visitors a 50-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter.