Annapolis often left Taylor Kitzmiller open throughout the third quarter, and the Severna Park guard repeatedly made the Panthers regret it.
Kitzmiller scored 20 of his game-high 28 points in that third quarter to help the No. 14 Falcons pull away for a 63-52 victory over Annapolis in the Anne Arundel County boys basketball championship game on Friday at Northeast High School.
The win gave Severna Park its first county title since the 2003-2004 season. The Falcons improved to 21-2 with the victory, the third time they've beaten Annapolis (14-8) this season.
The two teams played sloppy throughout the turnover-filled first half, which ended with Severna Park holding a 19-18 lead. But Kitzmiller, a 6-foot-3 guard, began repeatedly getting open on the left wing and started drilling shots.
"They left me open; I just started shooting it and they were going in," Kitzmiller said. "I was wide open."
Kitzmiller drained four 3-pointers in just over two minutes. He also added two layups and a pair of free throws to help Severna Park take a 47-30 lead at the end of the third quarter.
"He's a very talented player," Falcons coach Paul Pellicani said.
Severna Park also got help from Jerrell Harris, who scored 15 points, and Grahm Watson, who scored eight. Pellicani said that not relying on just one person has been a key for his team all season long.
"It's our diversity that's [helpful]," he said. "This team is concerned about one score — that's the final one. We are a blue-collar team."
Juan Brown led Annapolis with 17 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Josh Glover added 11, but both teams had problems at the free throw line. The Panthers made only 17 of 30 foul shots while Severna Park made just 23 of 38.
Annapolis was the defending county champion and had won two of the last four titles. The Panthers tried to rally late, but couldn't pull closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.
The Anne Arundel girls final featured more drama, as No. 11 South River outlasted Old Mill for a 47-45 overtime victory and a second straight county title — plus a second victory over the Patriots in the last two weeks.
Freshmen Keorra Taylor and Molly Folks made big plays in the fourth quarter and overtime to help the Seahawks (20-4) come from behind and hand Old Mill (19-4) a heartbreaking loss.
The game was tied at 42 with just under two minutes left in overtime when Folks, a center, made a steal and a quick layup. That put South River on top for good at 44-42.
Taylor then added a layup 19 seconds later for a 46-42 edge. The Patriots never got closer than two after that.
Taylor finished with a team-high 10 points while Folks added nine. Folks also hit three key free throws in the final minute of the fourth quarter and pulled down a big rebound.
Kanesha Afi led Old Mill with a game-high 13 points.
"For freshmen, there at the end of the game, that's huge," South River coach Mike Zivic said. "You've got to give them [credit]."
The victory was harder due to South River's struggles at the free throw line. The Seahawks made 14 baskets but sunk only 18 of 49 free throws, costing them many chances to rally or put the game away.
But Old Mill found just as much trouble at the line. The Patriots finished with 17 baskets and made only 10 of 29 free throws.
They especially had problems in overtime, missing eight of nine free throws, which proved costly.
Still, Old Mill had a chance to force a second overtime or even win in the final seconds. The Seahawks missed two free throws with 9.3 seconds left, got an offensive rebound and quickly turned it over.
That gave the Patriots the ball back one final time. They called time-out and set up a play where Jordan Graham got open in the left corner, but missed a shot as time ran out, allowing South River to escape with the win.
"We wanted it, and we got it," Zivic said.
Anne Arundel County Championships
No. 14 Severna Park 63, Annapolis 52
A- J. Brown 17, White 2, Wade 5, Glover 11, W. Brown 9, Yount 3, Pratt 5. Totals: 16 17-30 52.
S- Outing 4, Harris 15, Watson 8, Kitzmiller 28, Tinordi 1, Agee 5, Brown 2. Totals: 16 23-38 63. Half: S, 19-18.
No. 11 South River 47, Old Mill 45 (OT)
SR- L. Smith 8, Young 4, T. Smith 3, Proctor 5, Taylor 10, Chaney 4, Folks 9, Herndon 2. Totals: 14 18-49 47.
OM- Afi 13, Daley 4, Moses 5, Hawkins 5, Graham 3, N. Green 4, J. Green 2. Lee 9. Totals: 17 10-29 45. Half: 20-20. End regulation: 42-42.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun