Title hopes for Annapolis boys live on after Glen Burnie win

January 22, 2004|By PAT O'MALLEY

Cancel the tombstone and epitaph for the Annapolis boys basketball team.

After the worst start in 27 years under John Brady (2-5), the state's winningest active public school coach in Maryland (564-100), the five-time defending county champions have won five in a row, including Tuesday night's 61-59 upset of No. 6 Glen Burnie.

"This is a really big win," said Annapolis sophomore Kevin Coates, who had 13 points, including three three-pointers in the last 3 1/2 minutes. "Our chemistry has gotten better because we've been listening to our coaches and running the plays. Everything's all good."

Coates and fellow sophomores Trayvon Parker and Justin Brown start on one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams the Panthers have had. Senior Elliott DeVoe is the only returning starter from last year's 23-2 team. Senior Tavon Randall also starts after getting some playing time last season.

"We knew we had to win this one, and we've got plenty more to come," said Randall, who had five of his 17 points in the final quarter and fed Coates for the game-winning basket with seven seconds left.

"We've come a long way with a young team. Guys finally know their roles on this team, and now we're playing like a team."

Gophers coach Mike Rudd lamented his team's inability to put the Panthers away. Leading 31-27 at halftime, Glen Burnie (10-2) started the third quarter with an 8-0 run only to have the Panthers cut their deficit to 44-41 going into the last eight minutes.

When the Gophers started the final quarter with 10 straight points for a 54-41 lead, it seemed like a tall order for Annapolis to answer again. But the Panthers did, and their 12-2 run made it a three-point game with 2:20 left.

"We had the game put away, but they made four threes in the last quarter and we didn't expect that kid [Coates] to step up and hit those threes," Rudd said.

"Credit Coach Brady, that's why he's won all those games."

Glen Burnie's chance to send it into overtime may have been nixed when Annapolis elected to foul Mitch Guest immediately after Coates made it 61-58. Guest, who had a game-high 23 points, was fouled before he could attempt a game-tying three-pointer.

A free throw by Guest with three seconds left was followed by an intentional miss. But DeVoe (seven rebounds) grabbed the rebound for Annapolis as time ran out.

"We liked our chances better with Guest on the line," Brady said. "We could have double-teamed him and he probably still would have hit the three. He's a great player."

Wild race

The Annapolis upset, coupled with a 63-58 upset by Severna Park (6-6) over No. 18 Old Mill (9-3) on seven three-pointers and 28 points by Keith Miller on Tuesday night, makes it a six-team race for the Feb. 26 county championship game.

Glen Burnie (5-1) leads the county followed by a trio of 5-2 teams in Annapolis, Old Mill and Broadneck (8-3). Severna Park and Arundel (7-5) are 6-3 and 5-3 respectively in the county.

Have a note? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499 or send e-mail to patomalleysports@aol.com.

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