For good reason, Old Mill junior guard Avion Robinson liked what he saw from the Patriots in the second half of their tightly contested game against No. 9 Woodlawn in the team’s first appearance at the 22nd Baltimore City Public Schools Basketball Academy at Morgan State.
At the offensive end, the Patriots were sharing the basketball, getting good looks and hitting shots. On defense, they clamped down, keeping the Warriors from making a field goal for more than six minutes in a stretch where they took over the game.
And then when the Warriors got close in the final seconds, the Patriots hit enough free throws and got a final defensive stop to claim a well-earned 63-58 win.
Old Mill, which got 19 points from Hollique Johnson and 16 from Robinson, improved to 8-3 on the season. Woodlawn, which opened the tournament with a comfortable 61-30 win over Hammond on Thursday, fell to 9-2.
“We played like we practice, We practice real hard but sometimes during games we can get selfish,” Robinson said. “Today we didn’t get selfish at all. We shared the ball and our shots were falling.”
Trailing 41-39 with 2:02 to play in the third quarter, Robinson started taking charge. In closing out the quarter, he hit a jumper, found Daevone Johnson for an easy basket in transition and then finished a fast break on his own for a 45-41 lead.
The Patriots opened the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run — another basket from Robinson and a three-point play from Johnson the key plays — to build the game’s first double-digit lead at 53-43 with 4:18 to play.
The Warriors, who struggled to find their shot for most of the half, tried to rally with Reshaud Garrison’s 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to cut the lead to 59-56 — Mark Brinkley hit a key 3 to get the run going. But the Patriots got two free throws from Mahzi Thames (13 points) to push the lead to 61-56 and they would secure the win.
An important week had more ups than downs for the Patriots. On Tuesday, they knocked off Annapolis and then fell to Meade on Thursday. The impressive response against Woodlawn on Friday impressed.
“I think we’re in a good spot this year and all we have to do is keep worrying about our next opponent, and I think we can be really dangerous,” Robinson said.
Brinkley had 20 points to lead the Warriors with freshman Marlon Lewis adding 15 and Demauri Warren finishing with 13.
“Our shooting abandoned us tonight and we have to find other ways to win when that happens,” Woodlawn coach Bobby Richardson said. “We just have to recognize our shooting was off and what else can we go to. You’ve got to get stops, you’ve got to make free throws, you’ve got to get easy, cheap baskets”.
The game was tied at 16 after one quarter and again at 33 at the break with both teams effectively running their respective offenses.
The Warriors opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run with a steal and layup from Brinkley providing the biggest lead of the first half at 25-18 with 5:28 left.
But the Patriots responded, getting three straight baskets from Michael Smith — the last a follow in the final minute to get the game tied at the break.
W —Warren 13, Brinkley 20, Garrison 8, Blakeney 2, Lewis 15. Totals: 20 11-17 58.
OM — H. Johnson 19, Thames 13, Boston 2, Robinson 16, D. Johnson 5, Smith 8. Totals: 27 9-16 63