Annapolis rolls past Friendly, 82-64

Neal, No. 2 Panthers earn spot in region final

3A East boys basketball

High School

March 01, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Marcus Neal was Marcus Neal, sophomore guard Laronja Owens continued to play like a steady senior and Trevon Williams contributed off the bench.

It all added up to another victory for No. 2 Annapolis (24-1), as they raced past a good Friendly team from Prince George's, 82-64, in last night's Class 3A semifinal at the Panther Den.

The two teams put on a shooting clinic, with Annapolis shooting 54 percent (14 for 26) in the first half and 58 percent (29 for 50) for the game, with nine threes in 15 attempts. Friendly (15-10) shot 50 percent (15 for 30) in the first half and 45 percent (26 for 58) for the game. It was offense at its best despite the defensive quickness of both teams.

Neal, the metro area's leading scorer, scored 36 points, had seven rebounds and three assists while Owens scored 23 points and added three assists. Williams scored seven of his nine points as the Panthers took over in the second half, and pulled down a team high eight boards.

In 25 games, Neal has a school record 769 points for a 30.8 average, passing the late James Butler who had 759 in 25 games for a 30.4 average back in 1985-86. Andover's Steve Stielper holds the county records of 892 points in 27 games in 1975-76.

The defending region champion Panthers will play last night's Crossland(PG)/Wilde Lake winner tomorrow for the right to play next week in the final four at Cole Field House.

Last night's game marked the return of a former Anne Arundel county coach, Gerald Moore whose teams used to battle Annapolis and coach John Brady in Class 4A.

Moore coached Arundel for seven seasons, going 89-72 including a 21-4 campaign in 1994-95 when he led the Wildcats to their first region title and trip to the final four in 20 years.

Moore's Patriots jumped out to a 14-4 lead on Annapolis in the first period, but the Panthers cut it to 24-20, with Neal scoring a dozen.

"Marcus just took control of all Annapolis, the whole city, " said Moore. "He's incredible. He can play."

Back-to-back threes by Neal and Owens gave the Panthers a 38-37 lead at the half and a flurry by Neal and Owens in the third period put the Patriots down 63-49.

After sophomore Josh Johnson (seven points, five rebounds) scored, Neal or Owens put in the next 18 points and suddenly it was a 58-47 game.

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