Rookie head coach V.J. Keith got an early Christmas gift from his No. 11 Arundel Wildcats last night. They held on in Gambrills for a 59-48 upset of No. 6 Annapolis.
It was the Panthers' second consecutive loss, keeping head coach John Brady locked on 398 career wins. Dunbar beat the Panthers, 55-48, on Friday.
Annapolis overcame a 19-point deficit to nearly pull out the game in the final period, but in the end, the play in the paint of Wildcat senior Tony Ross was the difference. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Ross, a tight end in football, scored a team-high 16 points. But more importantly, he pulled down 16 rebounds, 10 on the defensive side.
Arundel out-rebounded Annapolis, 37-20, with 22 of the boards on the defensive end -- making put-back points tough.
Levor Robinson, a 6-foot-4 senior transfer from Meade, had 14 points and six rebounds for Arundel, whose sixth man, 6-foot-5 junior Dave Huff scored only two points, but had eight boards.
The 11-point difference at the end was attributable in large part to Ross, who was a match for the Panthers' 6-foot-7 Germaine "Boo" Diggs. Diggs had 18 points, 16 boards and three blocked shots for the Panthers. His partner in the paint, Brian Barber, sat out most of the second and third periods with four fouls.
Keith, who was often on the losing end in games with Annapolis as a four-year assistant at Broadneck, was not gloating afterward.
"It's a big one anytime you get [a win] against Annapolis. You've got to be pleased, but it's early in the season," said Keith. "I would much rather have this in the playoffs. With a win like that," he added that his players "believe in me a little bit more -- and I believe in them a bit more."
Keith's Wildcats were, in Annapolis coach Brady's words, "on the verge of embarrassing us" in the first half, taking a 19-point lead (36-17) with 2: 20 left in the second period. Annapolis recovered some, going on a 9-0 run to get within 10 at halftime.
Then, a 6-0 run by the Panthers to start the second half made it a four-point game, 36-32.
In the fourth quarter, Annapolis made it a one-point game, 47-46, on Barber's bucket with about four minutes left.
With 2: 35 and the margin still one point, Annapolis called timeout with a chance to take the lead.
But then the Panthers missed four shots and Arundel made eight straight free throws to clinch the win.
Pub Date: 12/18/96