Late run helps Wildcats pull away, stay unbeaten

arundel 85, annapolis 77

varsity boys basketball

December 20, 2008|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,glenn.graham@baltsun.com

The Arundel boys basketball team did just enough right to stay ahead of visiting Annapolis through three-plus quarters last night.

In the final five minutes, the Wildcats did just about everything right to pull away for an 85-77 win over the Panthers in Gambrills.

Led by a 22-point performance from junior guard R.J. Harris and a 14-point, 16-rebound effort from senior forward Auraum Nuiriankh, the Wildcats improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Anne Arundel County in handing the Panthers (4-1, 3-1) their first loss of the season.

Leading 70-68 with 5:50 to play, the Wildcats' 9-2 run gave them enough separation to bring home the win.

Junior guard Andre Hilliard started the stretch with a three-pointer in the left corner to answer a tough Annapolis zone; Harris had an open-court steal and layup; and the Wildcats, who went 31-for-48 from the foul line, hit eight of 10 free throws down the stretch to secure the win. Offensive rebounding and key stops on defense were also big factors.

"It was just hard work. We never quit and knew we had to stay with it," said Harris, whose steal just past midcourt midway through the 9-2 run energized the team. "I was just overplaying a pass and went for it. I got the steal, and it was an easy layup."

The two teams came with similar games - both getting up and down the court with plenty of depth on the benches.

The Wildcats took a 22-15 lead on an inside basket from Terrell Tullis late in the first quarter, only to see the Panthers answer with a strong start to the second quarter. The Panthers got a three-point play from guard Chris Beck to take their biggest lead at 37-31 with 4:06 left. The Wildcats tied the score at 47 at the half.

The Panthers got 17 points from guard Terrance Wright and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Delmore Howard.

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