Two factors played a role in the Class 4A East Region Section II final on Wednesday between Boadneck and host Annapolis.
The Panthers rode the hot hands of senior leader Walter Tolliver early, and then sophomore Chris Jones, who was returning from injury. And the Bruins may have been both mentally and physically drained from their upset of top-seeded North Point on Monday.
Tolliver made a pair of 3-pointers early and Jones finished with a game-high 19 points as Annapolis turned aside upset-minded Broadneck, 65-54. Annapolis will travel to Meade, a 69-64 winner over Glen Burnie, on Friday at 7 p.m. for the region championship and a berth to the state semifinals next week at Xfinity Center in College Park.
"I think they really played their tails off on Monday, obviously, and they were probably pretty tired. To come back and win a game at the end by one with a three, you know it was a battle," Annapolis interim coach Dan Smalley said. "I know they started down by a large deficit and they came back. So they had to put a lot of energy out. That helped us because their legs weren't quite there on their shooting."
It certainly helped that Tolliver hit his first two shots, both from behind the 3-point line, to stake the Panthers to a 6-0 lead just 1 minute, 15 seconds into the contest. Keith DeJesus and Cameron Ford followed later in the quarter with treys and Annapolis finished the quarter ahead 16-10.
Jones came off the bench and scored five of the Panthers 18 points in the second quarter as Annapolis went into intermission up 32-18.
Broadneck didn't fold despite the fatigue as they held the Panthers scoreless for the first 5:15 of the third quarter. However, the Bruins were not able to seriously take advantage of their increased defensive pressure, but cut the 16-point margin by three points and trailed, 42-29 going to the final stanza.
Both teams picked up the pace in the fourth quarter as Jones was put on the foul line nine times and made seven of them, plus a field goal. In total, Jones was 7 for 11 from the charity stripe and the rest of the Panthers went 10 for 16. Meanwhile, Broadneck's leading scorer, Emmett Davis, had nine of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter.
"We played together as a team tonight. We moved the ball like we were supposed to and everybody cut to the basket and got to open spots," Jones said. "We just need to keep the same intensity up that we had tonight and bring it into that game."
The latter part of the quarter turned into a free throw competition, with Annapolis hitting the line 22 times, making 15. Broadneck had 19 free throws in the period and made 10 of them.
But the major reason that Annapolis will face off against Meade again for the region title is they were able to handle the ball well down the stretch and convert their fouls shots.
"Tonight we closed out really well because we were able to have two ball handlers, Walter and Chris, in the whole time," Smalley said. "And we were still able to have good foul shooters on the court. That was really helpful."
Broadneck coach Daryl Reid knew coming in that a second upset, especially against a county opponent, would be a daunting task.
"I think everybody from the county was happy that we cleared the way so nobody has to go down there anymore. I though we struggled shooting the ball. We couldn't get anything to fall. I think the guys were a little shocked to be down early," Reid said. "Annapolis, they shoot the ball well, from every position. We were trying to figure out if we wanted to double-team guys, but they all have 3-point shooting capabilities.
"Emotionally, being down Monday night, for us to exude the passion and persistence to be able to fight back and win the game, it took a lot of emotional and physical energy to do that."
Damon Gomer and TrayQuon Trayham of Broadneck finished with 10 points apiece, while Cameron Ford of Annapolis came of the bench to contribute 10 points. Deontay Savoy and Tolliver each chipped in with eight for the victors and Will Dion had seven.
Broadneck (11-13)1081125-54Annapolis (17-7)1618823-65
Schofield 1 1-2 3; Davis 5(2) 4-6 16; Smith 2(1) 0-0 5; Gomer 2(1) 5-5 10; Jasper 1 6-10 8; Kennedy 1 0-2 2; Trayham 4(2) 0-0 10. TOTALS: 16(6) 16-25 54.
Jones 6 7-11 19; Dion 0 3-7 3; Cornish 2 1-2 5; Tolliver 2(2) 2-3 8; Gross 1(1) 2-2 5; Bates 2 0-0 4; Ford 3(2) 2-2 10; DeJesus 1(1) 0-0 3; Savoy 3(2) 0-0 8. TOTALS: 20(8) 17-27 65.