Patriots' pressure defense frustrates, stifles Wildcats

February 19, 2010|By Jeff Seidel | Special To The Baltimore Sun

After watching Arundel turn most of the first three quarters into a track meet, Old Mill coach Greg Smith had seen enough.

Smith directed No. 11 Old Mill to use a pressing, trapping defense in the fourth quarter. The move worked perfectly as the visiting Patriots suffocated No. 10 Arundel's offense, forcing 12 turnovers in the period, many of which led to easy baskets and helped the Patriots to an 81-68 victory Thursday night.

The victory opened the door for No. 7 Annapolis to take the county title and represent Anne Arundel County in next week's District V title matchup with Howard County. If Annapolis wins its final two county games, it clinches the title.

Old Mill's balanced offense helped it stay close throughout the first three quarters. Mike Holley (20 points) and Eric Savage (19 points) led the way as five Patriots scored in double figures, but the fourth-quarter pressure defense was the big story.

"It's controlled chaos," Smith said. "We were just trying to get them to take a little more time to get the ball into the front court."

Arundel (17-3, 12-2) held a 59-58 lead after three quarters. That's when Smith put in a three-quarters-court press along with some traps. The Patriots constantly double-teamed the ball, which threw off the Wildcats' offense, forcing turnovers that led to several easy baskets.

Old Mill (17-3, 12-1) outscored Arundel 23-9 in the fourth quarter. The Patriots held Arundel to only four baskets in the period.

The Wildcats turned it over on four straight possessions early in the quarter, helping Old Mill score nine straight to take a 69-61 lead.

"It took them out of sync," Holley said. "That disrupted everything for them."

R.J. Harris carried Arundel for much of the game. He finished with a game-high 29 points, including 13 in the first quarter. The senior scored four points in the fourth quarter but constantly ran into traffic and trouble.

"We've never really had problems versus presses, but we [did tonight]," Arundel coach Jeff Starr said.

OM-Holley 20, Day 10, Salmond 11, McCargo 9, Shaw 10, Savage 19, Williams 2. Totals: 32 13-20 81.

AR-Belt 15, Conley 8, Tullis 2, Harris 29, Washington 9, Lynch 5. Totals: 25 11-17 68. Half: A, 43-37.

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