As part of Friday's Pink Out basketball event at Arundel High, the Wildcat boys’ presented Old Mill’s players with a gift bag.
Then, the Wildcats methodically left the Patriots black and blue. No. 12 Arundel crushed the visitors, 70-35, in a battle for first in Anne Arundel County.
Senior post Ryan Hill had 20 points for the Wildcats (16-2 overall, 12-0 Anne Arundel), and Keaton Mack added 13 points and six assists. Jerrin Ball led Old Mill (11-7, 10-2 Anne Arundel).
The Gambrills school raced out to 27-5 advantage in the opening quarter as it moved closer to a spot in the championship game later this month at Chesapeake-Anne Arundel. The top two teams in the standings at the end of regular season will play for the title.
The Wildcats won the AACo crown last season, but a run at perfect regular season was ruined by Old Mill which scored on the game’s final play for victory in Millersville. Arundel was fully engaged for the rematch Friday.
“We had that sour taste in our mouths and just wanted to get this win,” said Wildcats senior point guard Austin Carroll. “That was our best start to a game and best continuous effort of the season.”
From halfcourt sets to transition to inbound plays, Arundel worked a dazed and confused Patriot squad that got no closer than 15 points after opening period. Wildcats coach Jeff Starr said it started with defensive intensity.
“We felt we could force them into some bad shots, rebound the ball, get into transition and run our offense,” said Starr, whose team is 27-1 in league play over the last two seasons. “Everything clicked the right way in the first quarter, everything we drew up worked.”
The Wildcats scored the game’s first nine points Friday. Marcus Oliphant sent the Arundel student section into a frenzy, bringing down Carroll’s lob with one hand for an alley-oop dunk.
The game probably would’ve been called if it was a boxing match. Unfortunately for Old Mill, there was still four minutes left in the opening period.
Arundel scored 16 straight points including an Aaron Lewis-Cenales layup off an inbounds play under the basket, a three-pointer by Oliphant (eight points) and jumper from Greg Gaither. It was 27-5 after Mack scored on a drive to beat the buzzer.
The Wildcats led 38-19 at halftime and 53-25 after three. Starr called it a night for his starters with three minutes left in regulation.
“I think there were some times that we were out of sorts offensively,” said Starr, “but I can’t complain that because it was only 10-percent of the time, 90-percent of the time they did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
Absolutely nothing went right for Old Mill, which has dropped two straight after a 10-0 start in league play. The Patriots’ night was summarized in the first quarter.
After Oliphant’s dunk, Old Mill called timeout to regroup. When play resumed, the Patriots had six players on court, which is a technical foul.
“We didn’t do a good job defensively and they [Arundel] shot the ball really well,” said Patriots coach Greg Smith. “Once you get behind like that, they’re not going to lay down. We kind of got worse as the game went on.”
Barring a collapse, Arundel will defend its county crown in a couple of weeks, but its’ ultimate aspirations is the Class 4A East Region title which has belonged to southern Maryland power North Point the past two seasons. The Wildcats lost to the Charles County squad in last winter’s region semifinals.
“We haven’t hit our peak yet and we want to do that playoff time,” said Starr. “Tonight, we played pretty good and if we can stay at that level we’ll be in good shape.”
No. 12 Arundel 70, Old Mill 35
Old Mill – Ball 10, Fullilove 9, Faulcon 4, Galloway 3, Evans 3, Hayes 2, Jones 2, Wilborne 2, King-Carver 1. Totals 15 1-2 35.
Arundel – Hill 20, Lewis-Cenales 11, Mack 13, Carroll 8, Oliphant 8, Gaither 4, Ramsey 4, Wells 2. Totals 27 12-23 70.
Old Mill 5 14 6 10 – 35
Arundel 27 11 15 17 – 70
Last Updated (Saturday, 02 February 2013 11:24)