Underdog Patriots, Gophers play tough

Teams impressive in regional wins


March 07, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Reporter

When the basketball playoffs began, the Glen Burnie boys and the Old Mill girls were not expected to win their respective Class 4A East regionals, but they did so rather impressively.

Top-seeded Thomas Stone of Charles County and Broadneck, the 1-2 seeds, were the favorites on the boys side and Arundel was the favorite in the girls 4A East.

Instead, then-No. 12 Glen Burnie knocked off No. 5 Broadneck, 62-49, in the semifinals and Thomas Stone, 92-85, in the final to advance to the state semifinals in College Park.

Then-No. 12 Old Mill pulled off the biggest surprise, routing pe- rennial 4A East girls champion and No. 5 Arundel, 77-51, to advance to the states at UMBC.

The Patriots (22-4) jumped out to an 18-3 lead that left the Wildcats (21-5) reeling.

Arundel had beaten Old Mill two times this season, including a 66-52 victory in the county championship, but Patriots coach Craig White never gave up on his players.

"I knew that we had at least three of the county's better players, and they took over when we needed them to," White said.

"We've been playing with a lot of confidence since the county championship game. This time of the year, it's all about defensive intensity and rebounds. And [Saturday] we were the better team."

Old Mill will play Blake (17-5), a 52-44 winner over Springbrook (20-4) in the North final, at 5 p.m. tomorrow at UMBC in the state semifinals.

For the Gophers, Desean Antoine and Kareem Downs led with 24 points each and Garrett Blackstone had 16 of his 22 points in the second half to go with 10 rebounds in their regional final victory.

"What can I say? This team never ceases to amaze me," said coach Mike Rudd, whose Gophers (20-5) will play Sherwood (21-4) of Montgomery County at 9 p.m. tomorrow in College Park.

"We beat Stone in a packed house at their place in an unbelievable environment for basketball. We are so battle-tested after playing so many good teams this season. This is our third time in five years going to the Comcast Center and it's just an awesome feeling."

Rudd is hoping his Gophers can make it to the state final for the first time since 1961.

Quick hits

After a stunning 58-45 win at then-No. 9 Annapolis on Wednesday, the Severna Park boys could not extend their sixth winning season in 14 years under coach Paul Pellicani by advancing to the states. The Falcons lost, 48-37, at River Hill in the 3A East final to finish 18-8. ... River Hill also eliminated Severna Park in the football regional, 48-10. ... Three Anne Arundel County boys - Glen Burnie's Garrett Blackstone and Annapolis' David Chapman and Lateef Williams - have been named to the suburban all-star roster for the seventh Charm City Challenge on April 1 at the Towson Center. Broadneck's Johnny Williams will coach the suburban stars against the city stars. For more information or tickets, call 410-605-9381 or visit www.charm citychallenge.com.

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