Old Mill coach Paul Bunting kept hearing the same talk yesterday morning about the unlikelihood of beating a good team four times in one season.
His players, however, weren't listening.
The fifth-seeded Patriots completed a four-game sweep of second-seeded Meade last night, winning in double overtime, 81-73, in the Class 4A, Region IV final.
Senior guard Erik Sheppard scored six of his 16 points in the second overtime, as Old Mill (16-9) clinched its first appearance in the 4A state tournament. Meade (16-8) was seeking its third trip, and first since 1988.
The Patriots nearly won in the initial overtime when Henry Wilkerson made a steal and drove to the basket with five seconds left and the game tied, 71-71. But his layup rolled off the rim, and teammate Ravon Austin's follow with one second remaining also missed.
Austin did everything else right. The senior guard finished with a game-high 28 points, which included 17 from 19 foul shots.
"It was tough, but we knew we could beat them since we had done it three times before," he said.
Meade's John Oxendine (16 points) sent the game into overtime by making a free throw with four seconds left after missing on his first attempt.
The Mustangs' Brian Parker then powered inside for a basket that gave his team a 69-67 lead, but a Troy Green free throw and Austin three-point play moved Old Mill in front, 71-69.
Robbie Somerville scored on a reverse layup to pull Meade even at 71 with one minute left, and both teams came up empty on ensuing possessions.
Sheppard scored off the glass to open the second overtime, and Old Mill went on to outscore Meade, 10-2.
"I don't know how many phone calls I got from people saying the same thing -- you can't beat a good team three times, let alone four," said Patriots coach Paul Bunting. "I just kept saying, 'Please don't say that to me, please don't say that to me.' "
The Patriots went up by 10 points twice in the second quarter, the last time at 43-33 when Sheppard stole the ball and passed to Green for a layup with 43 seconds left. Meade's Derek Barrett closed the half with a jumper. Old Mill led, 43-35.
The hosts outscored Old Mill, 18-11 in the third quarter to trail by only two, 54-52.
"When I looked up at halftime and saw we were only up by eight, I was shocked," Bunting said. "I kept thinking we should be up by 15, but Meade does not quit. Some teams you can pound on and it demoralizes them, but these guys don't quit."
Senior guard Butch Somerville led Meade with 18 points. Barrett added 15, and Parker had 14 points and a game-high 19 rebounds.