Before last night's Class 4A Region IV semifinal game against host Annapolis, Meade coach Butch Young was asking himself which Mustangs team would show up.
Would it be the one that dropped a 94-59 loss to the Panthers in the Dec. 5 season opener? Or the one that narrowly lost, 62-58, Jan. 25?
The disappointing answer came in a 80-68 Annapolis victory, as Meade (18-6) ended its season the same way it began.
Before the game, Annapolis coach John Brady reflected on the two previous meetings.
"The second time we played them, we had a 14-point lead with six minutes left in the game and we missed some big shots and some big plays," said Brady, whose defending Class 4A state champion Panthers (20-3) face Broadneck (20-4) in the regional final tomorrow night.
"We won't change a thing about the way we played them except the mistakes we made," he said.
The Panthers polished up their play and justas easily polished off the Mustangs. This time the Panthers turned up the heat in the last period.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthersgot 11 points from Dennis Edwards (27 points, four rebounds) and held their biggest lead of the game, 72-55, with 3 minutes, 35 seconds left.
Annapolis had controlled the tempo from the start behind Delmore Howard (22 points, six rebounds). His 12 first-quarter points helped break open a close start for a 25-15 Panthers lead.
It was a furiously paced period in which the Annapolis press -- in the final two minutes -- turned five straight turnovers into a 10-0 run, breakinga 13-13 tie.
"We don't want to get behind early," Young said before the game. "The second time we played them, we were able to controlthe game more. We wanted get somewhere in between the two games tonight."
Meade's Ron Hubbard (24 points) scored 11 points in the first half, but the Mustangs trailed, 37-29, at the intermission.
In the third quarter, Meade's David Beck (16 points) scored the first of two three-pointers in the period to pull his team within five, 39-34.But Annapolis' Ahmed Middleton (12 points), Rob Wooster (10 points, eight boards) and Gerard Hyman (seven points) all contributed to helpthe Panthers stay comfortably ahead, 57-46, at the end of three periods.