When Old Mill went big in the second half last night in Millersville, the Patriots dominated the boards and put Annapolis away, 61-51, for its first Anne Arundel County boys basketball championship in their nearly 30-year school history.
It was Old Mill's first appearance in the county championship game, which has been played for 10 years.
"It feels great because of all the hard work we put in and all the seniors [eight] that came back and wanted it, and we now need to win our region [4A East] and get to Comcast Center [state tournament]," said Old Mill's Terrell Ingram.
The No. 10 Patriots (20-3) got seven rebounds each from 6-foot-8 post players senior Travis Hyman and junior Rodney Stokes and 6-2 senior forward Terrell Ingram in front of a capacity crowd of nearly 2,000 fans.
As a result, the No. 11 Panthers (17-6) were denied second shots as they tried to catch up in the final period and were out-rebounded 11-4 on their offensive end in the second half and 30-29 on the night.
"With those two kids [Hyman and Stokes] in there, we controlled the boards and held them to one shot, and that was the key to it," said Old Mill coach Greg Smith.
No argument from Dale Chambers, the Annapolis co-coach this season with John Brady.
"Their height was a factor," said Chambers.
"You can only play with heart so long. I think our kids made the effort to rebound and box out, but they're a big team and we're physically stronger."
Shane Rickmon and Alex Buchholz paced the victors with 19 and 16 points, respectively.
Kevin Coates, who had game highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds for Annapolis, scored 17 in the first half. But when Smith put in Hyman and Stokes together for most of the second half, it slowed the 6-5 Coates, the Panthers' tallest player.
What made it even more special for the Patriots was that the victory came over Annapolis, which has won 21 county titles, five in the 10 years of the championship game, over the past 28 years under Brady. And Annapolis had taken this year's regular-season meeting, 59-58, in overtime.