No. 10 Old Mill tops No. 18 Annapolis

February 05, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

Annapolis coach Dave Griffith stood beside a row of bleachers at Old Mill yesterday and talked about the difficulty of winning in the Patriots' gymnasium.

He feared the worst, and he got it.

His team carried a three-point lead into the fourth quarter, then went 5:13 without making a field goal. No. 10 Old Mill (13-3, 9-1) took advantage of the dry spell, and of the Panthers' foul trouble, and posted a 42-39 victory.

A follow by Dana Dawson and a layup by Tiffany Slade had moved Old Mill ahead, 33-32, with 6:30 left. The lead grew to 40-34 before Shannon Henderson drove the lane, scored and was fouled, giving No. 18 Annapolis its first basket of the quarter, with 2:47 left. She made the free throw, and teammate Cristi Samaras rebounded a miss by the Patriots' Michelle Salmon, dribbled into the lane and banked in a shot to reduce the lead to 40-39 with less than two minutes left.

Slade made two free throws, and after both teams failed to score on their next possessions, Henderson was fouled with four seconds left. She missed both free throws, making her 5-for-14 from the line, and Old Mill had averted the upset.

"We haven't played well since we had that week off for the ice," said coach Pat Chance. "It just seemed like after we came back, we were about as rusty as rusty could be, in all aspects of the game. This was important for us."

Annapolis (9-6, 5-4) had won eight of its past nine games since a 1-4 start that could be blamed, in part, to a difficult early schedule. The Panthers opened at Westminster and also played Old Mill, Severna Park and St. Mary's before Christmas, so Griffith anticipated a rough beginning.

"My only concern was the girls keeping their heads above water and not giving up. We survived," said Griffith, whose team lost to Old Mill, 58-45, in December.

"My girls played hard tonight and I'm proud of them. They came in here and gave Old Mill a game. I've said all along that the only people who believe in Annapolis is Annapolis."

Henderson, who led all scorers with 17 points, went to the bench with her fourth foul late in the third quarter. She returned with 5:25 left in the game and her team behind, 35-34. By then, the momentum had shifted and Annapolis would not regain the lead.

"That's why I got so mad at the officials," Griffith said. "They were calling garbage on her, but they wouldn't call anything on them. We couldn't get a break near the end."

For Old Mill, the win couldn't have come at a better time. The Patriots were beaten by Arundel last Friday, 49-39 -- their first loss to an Anne Arundel County 4A League team since February 1991. They had won two straight before yesterday, but this was their stiffest test.

"This was very important to us because we haven't been playing up to our ability the past couple of games," said junior forward Kerri Eland, who led Old Mill with 11 points. "We needed this win more to uplift us than anything."

Salmon drove the baseline, pulled up and hit the jumper with two seconds left in the first quarter to give Old Mill a 10-8 lead. Annapolis had made three of its first four shots, then missed its next seven.

There were two ties in the second quarter before the Patriots, who were scolded by Chance during a timeout for not running their offense, got hot from the outside and went on a 8-0 run to lead, 20-12. But Annapolis reeled off seven straight, including the first five for Henderson, to close within 20-19. Eland then scored on a follow and Salmon made a steal and layup for a 24-19 halftime lead.

Old Mill stayed in front until Henderson passed to Tia Brown for a layup and a 29-29 tie with 1:55 left in the third quarter. A three-point play by Henderson gave Annapolis a 32-29 lead, but she picked up her fourth foul soon after, and the Patriots had the break they needed.

"Even though we committed a lot of turnovers [21], at least we hung in there tough and didn't crumble on the floor," Chance said. "We needed this."

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