The Arundel boys basketball team had several highlights in the first quarter against visiting Old Mill, most notably an alley-oop slam by Markus Oliphant and a drive by Keaton Mack at the buzzer.
But most of it was typical Wildcats basketball — making the extra pass to get an easier basket at one end and playing tough defense at the other end.
Six different players scored for No. 9 Arundel in the quarter as the Wildcats outscored the Patriots, 27-5. The dominating start made a profound statement and things didn't change the rest of the way as Arundel came away with a stunningly comfortable 70-35 win over Old Mill in Anne Arundel County play.
Senior forward Ryan Hill led the way with a game-high 20 points as the Wildcats (16-0) improved to 12-0 in the league. The Patriots, who went into the game closest in the county standings to Arundel, looked to be a distant second as they fall to 11-7 and 10-2 in the league.
"They gave us our first loss last year and we owed them one, so we knew we had to come out strong," Hill said. "It feels really good to get out to the fast start — it's an amazing confidence booster. We were able to get on runs and that's what basketball is all about — a game of runs."
The Wildcats got points on four of their first five possessions to open up a 9-0 lead.
Hill scored a basket inside and added two free throws, Mack hit a 3-pointer and Aaron Lewis-Cenales scored on an inbounds play underneath the basket.
The Patriots struggled to find the mark, connecting on just two of 15 shots in the first quarter and not getting their first basket until the 5:20 mark. After Old Mill's Dorien Fullilove hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 11-5 with 3:47 to play in the quarter, it appeared the visitors may settle in to make a game of it.
But the Wildcats scored the last 16 points in the quarter — Oliphant contributing all eight of his points in the run — to build the dominating 27-5 advantage. Old Mill couldn't pull any closer than 36-19 late in the second quarter, and Arundel steadily increased the advantage throughout the second half.
Mack finished with 13 points and Lewis-Cenales added 11.
"We got off to a great start and just build off the momentum. We're a real good balanced team and I really like our team as a whole. They love the team concept, which is great to have," Arundel coach Jeff Starr said.
9 Arundel 70, Old Mill 35
OM – Fullilove 9, Galloway 3, Ball 10, Evans 2, Faulcon 4, Wilborne 2, Hayes 2, Jones 2, King-Carver 1. Totals: 15 1-2 35.
A – Hill 20, Mack 13, Lewis-Cenales 11, Oliphant 8, Ramsey 6, Gaither 4, Carroll 6, Wells 2. Totals: 26 12-23 70.
Half: A, 38-19