Northern of Calvert County outscored host Annapolis 28-11 in the final period to spoil the Christmas party in the state capital last night.
The Patriots (5-0), from the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, upset No. 9 Annapolis, 73-58, in the Panthers' Cap City Classic.
The loss was the first of the season for the Panthers (5-1) and prevents them from defending their tournament title.
For the first time in coach John Brady's 18-year tenure, his Panthers will play in the consolation at 4 p.m. while Northern will play Pallotti (7-5), a 53-48 winner over South River (4-1) in the 8 o'clock championship game tonight.
The unranked Annapolis girls did save the first day for their fans.
It will be an all-Anne Arundel County final in the girls' Cap City, after host and defending champion Annapolis defeated Frederick Douglass, 52-41, and Glen Burnie took the day's opener, 47-43, over Bethesda Chevy Chase.
Annapolis and Glen Burnie, both 2-2 overall, will play for the Cap City championship at 6 tonight while Douglass and BCC meet in the consolation at 2 p.m.
In the Annapolis boys loss, the Panthers held a 36-30 lead after a fast-paced first half, but didn't keep up with the Patriots in the second half.
Northern closed the gap to 47-45 at the end of the third period and resorted to a zone press after buckets to force a rash of turnovers by Annapolis.
Northern's quickness, particularly that of Jerome Adams (12 points) and Leon Wiseman (game-high 32 points), was the Panthers' undoing as several steals were converted into easy scores.
"We just didn't execute after being too tentative on offense in the first half," said Brady. "Northern was a very good team, and it's a team we might have to worry about later."
The Patriots are in the same 4A East Region with Annapolis and the other Anne Arundel County teams.
Patriots coach Rick Weber pointed to his team's staying close at the half and then turning it on in the second half.
"After shooting poorly in the first half, I thought we were in great shape to be down by just six points," said Weber.
"Then we came out in the second half and went after them. We irritated them on their sideline break with our pressure and forced key turnovers.
"To come in here and get a win like this is really a confidence builder for us. We wanted to play in this tournament to see where we stood in our region against Annapolis and the other top teams, I hope I feel as good in March as I do tonight."
Northern also controlled the boards, outrebounding the Panthers It also hit 11 of 12 from the line in the final minute and a half to maintain its big lead. Anthony Rice (16 points) led the Patriots on the boards with 12, while the Panthers' Len Barber (10 points) had a game-high 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.
South River fell victim to Pallotti's deliberate style, as it led only 18-16 at the half and couldn't do much with the slow tempo in the second half.
The Seahawks also suffered their first loss despite Jay Dine's 13 points and 20 between Corey Davis and Russell Tongue.
Jason Bannister and Keith Lambkin scored 13 points each and John Burke added a dozen to put Pallotti in tonight's final.
Coach Mike Glick's Panthers are making their first appearance in the Cap City Classic.
"They're a well-coached team and made us play their way," said South River assistant Jack Jordan.
On the girls' side, the Panthers of coach Dave Griffith got 13 points from Jackie Edwards and 12 from Emily Nugent in its triumph over Douglass. Nugent sank four of five at the line.
Jamie Pleyo, who had the Panthers' only three-pointer, scored nine points, and eight points each came from Artina Trader and Stephy Samaras.
Glen Burnie was led by Tammy Carson and Bridget Davis, who had 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the Gophers' narrow victory over Bethesda Chevy Chase. Nevin Caple chipped in with nine points for the victors.
It was an especially satisfying victory for coach Patty Dages, whose Gophers have been kept out of the final the last two years.
F: Annapolis and Glen Burnie are county 4A League rivals.