Arundel tops Old Mill, gets closer to playoff berth

February 23, 1994|By John Harris III | John Harris III,Contributing Writer

No. 20 Arundel took a big step toward qualifying for the East Region playoffs by topping host Old Mill, 69-60, in last night's 4A county league game.

The Wildcats (13-7, 8-4 league) were led by Sean Soyars and Bakari Ward, who combined for 51 points and 15 rebounds.

Soyars hit six three-pointers on his way to game-highs of 27 pointsand 12 rebounds. Ward connected on three three-pointers and hit nine free throws on 13 attempts for 24 points.

"What we did offensively tonight, especially in the first half, was good, but it's defense that wins championships," said Wildcats coach Gerald Moore.

"We played good aggressive defense in the first half, but we got away from it in the second half. We need to play good defense for the entire game or we'll be in trouble come playoff time."

Sean Fairbanks (eight points) and Andy Vermillion (three) each grabbed nine rebounds. Senior point guard Jeff Hedrick dished out nineassists to go with three points and three steals.

The Patriots were led by Anthony Graves' 12 points. Todd Singleton added 11 points and eight rebounds, and frontcourt mate Nate Oliver contributed 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.

Arundel jumped out to a 17-point lead (34-17) on Soyars' four-point play midway through the second period.

The senior center put his team ahead by 17 once more (37-20) with 2:45 left in the half with his fourth three-pointer.

The Patriots (11-7, 6-6) cut the lead to 37-25 by halftime by hitting five out of eight free throws in the final two minutes of the half.

The Wildcats enjoyed an 8-0 run in the final 1:30 of the first quarter. Ward and Soyars hit three-pointers and Vernaill Moulden (six rebounds) made two free throws to cap the run.

"We just suffered from a lack of intensity tonight," said Old Mill coach Paul Bunting. "The kids knew how important this game was, but there was no intensity, no excitement. We were just standing around all night."

After outscoring Arundel 13-12 during the third quarter, the Patriotskept chipping -- eventually pulling to within four points (51-47) on a basket by Dee Ballard (seven points). It would be the closest Old Mill would get for the rest of the evening.

"We did a good job of holding them off, but I'm still not satisfied," said Moore.

The Wildcats -- who defeated the Patriots for the second time in three tries this season -- are now in sole possession of third place in the 4A county league standings, and were in fifth place in the region standings before tip-off.

Old Mill dropped to fourth in the county league and was in seventh place in the region prior to last night's action.

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