No. 9 Eagles overcome Old Mill for Severna Park tourney crown; Pallotti upends No. 10 Wilde Lake (VIDEO HERE!)
by Derek Toney
Annapolis Area Christian School boys basketball coach Doug Scheidt accepted responsibility for his team’s poor third quarter performance against Old Mill in the Severna Park Winter Jam Tournament Friday evening.
Fortunately for Scheidt, the Eagles knew what to do to make amends.
No. 9 AACS posted a 63-52 victory over the 16th-ranked Patriots in the final game of two-day mixer. Senior forward RJ Forbes scored 20 points, and Aaron Celsius finished with 13 for the Eagles.
The Odenton private school regain its footing in the final eight minutes to extend its winning streak to nine. The Eagles were awarded the championship trophy in the robin-round tournament.
Severna Park coach and tournament director Paul Pellicani said the event had to be a “tournament format” to meet state public athletic rules. Annapolis Area Christian, which defeated Montgomery County’s Blake Thursday, received the trophy based on points scored.
No. 10 Wilde Lake had a chance to vie for the tourney championship, but St. Vincent Pallotti handed the Howard County squad its first loss in a 79-74 decision. Isaiah Oshinnaiye and Miles Mallory each finished with 21 points for Pallotti (6-9 overall).
The Panthers, who led 39-31 at halftime, had a 69-58 advantage with 4 minutes, 49 seconds left in regulation after Oshinnaiye dropped a 3-pointer from the corner. Wilde Lake rallied, closing to 76-74 on Ben Chamblee’s basket with 32 seconds left to play.
Mallory converted one of two free throws with 20.5 seconds, giving Pallotti a 77-74 lead. Wilde Lake missed a 3-pointer, and Mallory was fouled on the rebound with 12.7 seconds left.
Mallory, a senior, hit one of two free throws for a two-possession lead. Thursday, Pallotti lost to Old Mill, 61-59.
Mallory said the Panthers need to do a better job “sharing the ball.”
“We need to execute down the stretch,” said Mallory. “We’ve lost a lot of close games.”
Sophomore Marc Marshall led Wilde Lake (6-1) with 14 points and Trea Keys added 13. The Wildecats edged Montgomery County’s Kennedy, 65-63, Thursday.
“We didn’t do a good job recognizing time and score, rushing shots late,” said Wilde Lake coach Deon Wingfield, whose team has first in Howard County. “These games will help get us ready for league games.”
After a horrific third quarter, Annapolis Area Christian (10-1) leaned on its experience to pull through. Senior guard Dylan Borden had 12 points, and Mehki Marshall hit a critical jumper.
Leading 39-26 at halftime, AACS went cold in the third quarter, and Old Mill stormed ahead. With time running out, Marshall dropped a floater, giving the Eagles a 43-42 lead.
It was AACS’ only field goal in the third.
“I wasn’t trying to force anything; I was looking to dish, but they collapsed on our three-point shooters, so I just shot the floater,” said Marshall, who finished with five points. “My job is to play defense, get assists and create opportunities for my team.”
Borden drained a 3-pointer from the corner to start the fourth, and Annapolis Area Christian worked the ball inside to Celsius as the Eagles pushed the lead back to double digits.
Forbes was the story early for AACS, scoring 14 points in the opening quarter and all of his 20 in the first half. His dunk gave the Eagles a 39-24 advantage.
It was the last field goal for nearly 10 minutes for AACS, which was befuddled by Old Mill’s 3-2 zone.
“They made some adjustments and we did not and, quite frankly, that is on me,” said Scheidt. “We settled down after the third quarter and little Mekhi had a nice shot there, a great play. We played much better defense in the fourth and Mekhi is a big reason for that.”
Another reason was the Eagles’ eight seniors.
“It’s senior leadership. We got our team together and stayed composed,” said Forbes.
Senior guard Avion Robinson had a game-high 21 points for Old Mill (5-3), which went on a 16-2 run in the third quarter to gain its first lead since early in the first quarter. The two-time reigning Anne Arundel County champions weren’t able to recover after Mitchell’s quarter-ending basket.
“Our coach said these tough would be the toughest games of our season,” said Robinson, whose team reached the Class 4A state final four last year. “This will prepare us for later in the season.”
Scheidt said he wanted to play a “physical” team like Old Mill to get AACS ready for a tough stretch in MIAA A Conference play. Friday night, the Eagles welcome No. 2 St. Frances Academy.
The Eagles have won 10 straight since an opening loss to Pallotti.
“We got to stay on our toes and be ready for anything,” said Borden.
“We are not playing our best basketball yet,” said Scheidt, “but that is a good thing.”
Severna Park Winter Jam
No. 9 Annapolis Area Christian School 63, No. 16 Old Mill 52
Old Mill – Robinson 21, Johnson 12, King 5, Thomas 5, White 5, Middelton 3, Boston 1. Totals 20 10-15 52.
Annapolis Area Christian – Forbes 20, Celsius 13, Borden 12, Scott 9, Marshall 5, Ritter 4. Totals 25 9-15 63.
Old Mill 13 13 16 10 – 52
Annapolis Area Christian 27 12 4 20 – 63