Arundel lightning struck Annapolis suddenly in the second half last night and the damage was all around for everybody to see in Gambrills.
Moments after the 74-64 loss to the Wildcats, the No. 6 Panthers bolted to the locker room, picked up their clothes and headed back to Annapolis stinging.
It was the second time this season that No. 18 Arundel has upset Annapolis, the Panthers had been sailing along with a 46-30 lead early in the third quarter, Annapolis standout Germaine "Boo" Diggs missed nearly nine minutes of the second half due to foul trouble, and two losses this season have now been administered by the long-time rival Wildcats. Ouch.
It all looked so easy for Annapolis (13-4, 10-3 in the South Division) last night until Arundel (12-5, 9-4) went on a stunning 16-3 run in the third quarter to pull within one point of the Panthers, 47-46.
Twenty seconds before the 16-3 surge ended, Diggs collected his fourth foul and would play only 2:46 the rest of the evening before fouling out with 3:03 left in the game and Annapolis trailing, 64-62.
With Diggs out of the game at crunch time, the Panthers came unglued and had trouble just getting the ball up the floor.
That was the signal for Arundel to take over the game down the stretch behind some brilliant play by juniors Jamell Miller and Erik Lipton after seniors Jim Todd and Joe Parker had carried the load early in the fourth quarter.
It was the all-around play of Darnerian McCants that ignited the Arundel rally.
McCants, a 6-foot-4 senior, had a couple of crucial steals in the opening minutes of the third quarter, had a big follow shot during the run and played tough defense on Diggs.
Miller, who scored eight points and had three assists in the fourth quarter, wound up with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Todd also had 15 points for the Wildcats and 10 rebounds, Parker scored 14, Lipton had eight and McCants had seven points, four steals and two blocks.
Parker said his teammates were inspired by a "stern" half-time lecture from coach Gerald Moore.
"He was steaming and told us he had given all he could to help us win the game," said Parker. "He told us he would never give up on us."
Arundel girls 83, Annapolis 25
The No. 2 Arundel blitzed No. 8 Annapolis behind Chavonne Hammond's 20 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Jen Mottar scored 15 for the winners.