Annapolis wears out Oakland Mills, 75-52 Panthers set to play Landon for championship

Capital City Classic

December 28, 1997|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Annapolis Panthers entered this season without a single starter from last year's 20-win team.

In last night's opening round of the Capital City Classic, however, the host Panthers looked as if they haven't missed a beat.

Thomas Hawkins scored 14 points to lead three players in double figures and Annapolis pulled away with a 16-2 run to open the second half in their 75-52 win over Oakland Mills.

The Panthers (5-1) advanced to the championship game, where they will face Landon, a 49-45 winner over North County, at 8 p.m. tomorrow.

"We have guys who know how to play the game," said Annapolis coach John Brady, who improved his career record to 421-81. "It isn't really any different than any other year. You start out having to work on little things, and it usually takes until two weeks after Christmas until everything starts falling into place."

At times last night, it appeared things may have fallen into place a little early.

The game appeared as if it would turn into a rout early, as Annapolis started the game with a 17-5 run over the first 7: 37 and led by as many as 14 in the second quarter.

The Scorpions (2-5), however, bounced back shortly before halftime. With better shot selection, fewer turnovers and sound defense, they used a 9-1 run to make it 24-18 with 2: 50 left in the half, and went into the locker room down by eight.

But after the break, Annapolis quickly regained a comfortable lead.

The Panthers hit six of their first eight shots in the third quarter, including two three-pointers by Marcus Johnson, to build a 44-22 advantage midway through the period.

The Scorpions looked overmatched during the stretch, committing six turnovers and going without a basket for the first 4: 20 of the second half.

"At the start of the second half, [we] concentrated a little more," Brady said.

Kyron Belt scored 13 and Johnson 12 for the Panthers. Allen Scott had 14 and Thomas Browne added 11 for Oakland Mills.

Annapolis players say it's only a matter of time before they return to championship form.

So far, the Panthers only loss in six games has come at the hands of Patterson in the season's second game.

"We're improving game by game, step by step," Hawkins said. "We're just playing good."

Landon 49, North County 45: In last night's early game, Scott Hettermann scored a game-high 17 to help Landon of Bethesda deny North County its first victory.

Led by guard Josh Schultheis' 16 points, the Knights (0-6) rallied to erase a nine-point, second-quarter deficit, tying the game at 41 with 4: 08 left.

Down the stretch, however, Landon (3-3) sealed the win by hitting four of five free throws in the final 35 seconds.

"We really didn't want a close game because we knew it could be anybody's to win," said Bears coach Jaye Andrews, whose team forced 26 turnovers. "We were fortunate that we came out on top."

Pub Date: 12/28/97

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