It took No. 3 Annapolis and Germaine "Boo" Diggs a while to get going last night, but by the second half Diggs and the Panthers were hot.
The 6-foot-7 Diggs scored 18 of his game-high 27 points and pulled down 11 of his 12 rebounds in the second half as Annapolis opened its season on Riva Road with an 83-63 victory over Baltimore's Poly.
Diggs, an All-Metro selection and the Anne Arundel County Player of the Year as a junior, roamed the floor like a guard, finishing with seven steals and three assists. He went inside, too, for the 12 rebounds, to block four shots and ram home three slams.
Annapolis held an 11-point lead at the half but with Diggs scoring eight points and senior guard Todd Nicolini bagging five of his 16 points, including his third three, the Panthers pushed the lead to 22 points at 63-41 and coasted to the victory.
The Panthers' strength inside, coupled with their quickness on their press and traps, gave the Engineers a lot of trouble.
"They're [Annapolis] a well-balanced team and similar to our good city teams, like Lake Clifton, Dunbar and Southern, no doubt about it," said Poly coach Bucky Kimmett. "They [the Panthers] can do a lot of things, but I was pleased with the effort of my kids. The boards is what's going to hurt us this year."
After being out-rebounded by only 21-19 in the first half, Poly was out-muscled underneath, 27-7, in the second half as Annapolis grabbed 13 defensive rebounds. Diggs pulled in eight of the team's 14 offensive rebounds the final two periods.
"I was pleased overall with the way we played," said Annapolis coach John Brady, who notched career win No. 397. "With two guys 6-7, we should rebound well."
Towson State-bound Brian Barber complemented Diggs with 11 points and eight rebounds.
"You know who rebounded well was [Toronto] Williams." He had five defensive rebounds, which, as Brady said, "for a point guard is pretty good."
Seniors Byron Booth (nine points) and Pete Howe had seven rebounds each and Scott Raspa six. Junior DeMarkus Green had 13 points and three boards.
A Barber jumper midway through the second period gave the Panthers a 36-17 lead, their biggest margin of the half before the Engineers went on a 12-5 run to close the gap to 11 (45-34) at
Poly's Daniel McCoy scored 11 of his team-high 19 points in the first half and Algernon McGee tossed in six of his 16 points to keep it a game while the Panthers were trying to find the touch.
Annapolis shot only 32 percent (15-for-48) in the first 16 minutes to Poly's 39 percent 13-for-33. Barber led the Panthers in the first half with 10 points while Diggs and Nicolini had nine points each.
"It didn't help that Brian [Barber] and Boo got into first-half foul trouble," said Brady
Diggs got his second foul in the first two minutes of the second period and didn't return until the third period. Barber was called for three first-half personals and Barry Booth two.
"The continuity just wasn't there with Boo, Brian and Barry out from time-to-time," said Brady. "We might have ended the game a lot sooner if we wouldn't have had that little bit of foul trouble."
Pub Date: 12/06/96