Here they go again.
One year after staging three upsets on the road to win their first Class 4A, Region IV championship, the Old Mill Patriots have started another improbable journey.
Seeded sixth in this year's region playoffs, Old Mill received 16 points each from senior Troy Green and junior Andrew Lewis and rallied past third seed and host Glen Burnie, 60-55, in last night's first round.
Senior Steve Smith and junior Todd Singleton combined for 21 second-half points, as Old Mill (13-8) overcame a 33-24 deficit in the third quarter and moved on to tomorrow's 7 p.m. game at Annapolis (16-6).
The Panthers, ranked No. 7 in the metro area, have beaten the Patriots twice this season, 77-44 and 77-51.
"We haven't lost to them, we've gotten smashed," said Old Mill coach Paul Bunting, whose team eliminated Annapolis in last year's region semifinals.
"It's definitely not a fluky thing; they're a good team. But for one night, who knows if they're a better team. Hopefully on Wednesday they won't be a better team."
The Patriots didn't look as though they would get another crack at the Panthers after being outscored 11-0 to open the third quarter. But Smith made back-to-back three-pointers, and Lewis scored five points to begin the fourth quarter and push his
team in front, 44-42.
"I had to step it up," said Smith, who finished with 11 points. "They were double-teaming and triple-teaming Troy."
After a basket by Glen Burnie's Shawn Mahaney tied the game, 44-44, Singleton made his only field goal -- a three-pointer that gave the Patriots a 47-44 lead. That began a 9-0 run that effectively ended the Gophers' season.
"They played good," said Glen Burnie senior Vernon Osborne, who led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. "They were a hustling team. They wanted it."
After losing eight players from last season, Old Mill now starts just two seniors -- Green and Smith -- and has two others on the bench. One of them (George Epps) wasn't in the program last year, and another (Izzy Deschaine) is coming off knee surgery.
The team appears to be an even greater long shot to win the region than it was last year, but a victory over the 20th-ranked Gophers (16-7) was a step in the right direction.
"We like the pressure," Smith said. "We started out terrible this year, but we hung tough and pulled together. Hopefully, we can make the big trip again."
Mahaney had 10 points and six rebounds for Glen Burnie, which lost two of three games to Old Mill this season. Jamal Forbes, William Brown and Bill Dykhuis each scored eight points.