Arundel coach Lee Rogers said applying constant pressure is the only way his team plays defense.
The top-ranked Wildcats last night showed Old Mill the effectiveness of their defense, forcing 25 turnovers and limiting the host Patriots to nine baskets on the way to a 67-22 victory in the Anne Arundel County championship.
Arundel (23-1) suffocated the Old Mill offense from the start. The Wildcats forced turnovers on five of the first eight Old Mill possessions and 17 in the first half alone.
Using a variety of zones, presses and traps, the Wildcats made each trip up court an adventure for Old Mill.
The Wildcats repeatedly trapped the Patriots, forcing bad passes that were easily intercepted or other mistakes.
"We do a lot of different things to try and give people different [looks] in different situations," said Rogers. "We try to take the air out of you before you get started."
The Wildcats took advantage of the forced turnovers to score the game's first 10 points and later went on a 19-point run to take a 37-4 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half.
Chavonne Hammond led the way for Arundel. The Vanderbilt-bound senior dominated the paint with 18 points, 14 rebounds, six steals and two blocks.
Hammond often turned her steals or rebounds into good scoring chances for the Wildcats.
"We're a defensive team," said Hammond. "That's what our offense works around. Everyone did well on defense for us."
Jenny Mottar (11 points), Sherice Proctor (10 points), Shannon Noon (seven points), Lachelle McHenry and others all helped at both ends of the court.
The Wildcats also benefited from strong play from its bench.
When Rogers began clearing the bench in the first half, there was little drop-off as Arundel kept playing tough defense and forcing turnover after turnover.
"We try to play hard defense, it keeps us in the game," said Proctor. "We adjust to what [the other team] does, so they they can't figure it out."
Old Mill seemed confused at times by the Arundel defense.
The Patriots, led by Seneka Blackwell (nine points), worked hard at keeping the ball moving but never got their offense going.
Arundel also took advantage of a big edge in rebounding. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Patriots, 50-21, and often got two, three or more shots on one possession.
On the game's opening possession, Arundel set the tone by grabbing three offensive rebounds. The Wildcats came up with two more the next trip down and finished with 28 overall.
The Wildcats had little trouble getting the ball inside for easy shots. For Arundel, 21 of its 29 baskets were layups -- including its first six baskets, five of which came in just 81 seconds.