No. 9 Old Mill stops Annapolis for first 4A state boys’ final four trip since 2010; Avion Robinson scores 24 (VIDEO HERE!!)

by Donald Daniels

Avion Robinson remembered the disappointment of losing in the 4A East Region boys’ basketball playoffs last year after winning the Anne Arundel County championship. With the Patriots trailing Annapolis in the East final Saturday, Robinson wasn’t about tasting another bitter end.

The junior guard was spectacular, scoring 21 of his 24 points in the final quarter, pushing the ninth-ranked Patriots to a 76-65 over the Panthers in Millersville. Daevone Johnson finished with a game-high 27 points for Old Mill.

“I didn’t want to go home,” Robinson said. “I just tried to do what I could do for my team and everything worked out.”

It’s on to College Park for Robinson and the Patriots (21-4 overall), who will play Prince George’s County’s Bladensburg in the 4A state final four Thursday evening at the Xfinity Center. It’s the first state semifinals for Old Mill since reaching the 4A final in 2010.

Annapolis (16-8), which won the East Region last winter, got 22 points from senior guard Christian Jones. The Panthers opened up a 48-43 lead in the fourth after Brennan Ralph found a wide open Jayson Johnson who knocked down a three-pointer in the left corner.

Then Robinson took over, fearlessly driving through the heart of Annapolis’ zone. He converted three layups and a 3-point play off a fadeaway jumper, bringing the Patriot faithful to its feet with 4 minutes, 45 seconds left in regulation.

“He told all the players he didn’t want to lose and he wanted to go to the University of Maryland,” Francis said. “He was a leader, and when he’s leading us and doing everything right everyone else just fills in and plays their roles.”

Annapolis tried to keep the game close after Avion Johnson’s explosion, but Daevone Johnson hit two jumpers to keep the Panthers at bay. The Patriots pulled away with an 8-2 run for a 66-54 advantage with less than three minutes left.

Daevone Johnson finished with 10 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth, and Mahzi Thames added 10 for Old Mill. Jayson Johnson had 11 for Annapolis, which led entering the fourth before Robinson took over.

“It was a game of swings, and they had the last swing,” Annapolis coach Dan Smalley said. “They changed their defense on us, and it was probably one of the few times where we lost our poise this year. That got us out of what we were trying to do and we didn’t react very well.”

During the summer, Old Mill won its bracket at the University of Maryland Team Camp on Gary Williams Court inside the Xfinity Center. Francis took a photo.

He’s hoping to add another one to his album this week.

“I told them the goal was to get back there in March,” Francis said. “I don’t think they even remember it. We started this goal a long time ago, and the goal was to get back and try to take (another) picture at the University of Maryland.”

Class 4A East Region boys’ basketball championship

No. 9 Old Mill 76, Annapolis 65

Annapolis: Davidson 4, Z. Green 2, Jones 22, Ireland 4, Ralph 6, J. Johnson 11, X. Green 10, Thompson 5. Totals 15 27-34 65.

Old Mill: Robinson 24, D. Johnson 27, Thomas 10, Turner 6, H. Johnson 4, Savage 5. Totals 24 23-30 76.

Annapolis   14 16 15 20 – 65

Old Mill       21 10 12 33 – 76