Unintentionally, Severna Park tried to run with No. 4-ranked Annapolis last night, and just what they feared would happen if they played up-tempo did happen.
Four Panthers scored in double digits as Annapolis (5-0) shot a torrid 60 percent from the field (37 of 62) and left with an 87-63 romp at Severna Park (3-2).
In what was opening night in the Anne Anne Arundel County league, Annapolis dominated from start to finish, forcing 21 turnovers and out-rebounding the Falcons, 37-23.
Fifteen Panthers saw action, as Annapolis coach John Brady cleared his bench in the final period.
Annapolis took a 24-15 lead into the second period and turned its running game up full blast, landing 12 of 19 from the field to take a 52-34 lead to intermission. The final eight minutes started with Annapolis holding a 71-44 lead.
"Yeah, we started a little slow and kept it close, but we got it into our up-tempo game that Coach Brady likes to play and made a nice little run," said sophomore Marcus Neal.
Neal led the victors with 19 points, seven in the decisive second period, as well as two steals, three rebounds and four assists.
Annapolis' Marques Johnson, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, had the best all-around game with 18 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. Kyron Belt with 19 points and Thomas Hawkins, who had 13, were right behind.
"We just pressed and tried to push the ball up court before 10 seconds," said Johnson. "We were kind of surprised they tried to run with us, but we were happy they did, because that's our kind of game."
Belt had four steals, four rebounds and two assists, and Hawkins, a junior swingman, led all rebounders with nine to go with four steals and two assists.
"I was very impressed with what McDonogh did against them," said Severna Park coach Paul Pellicani, who watched Annapolis outlast McDonogh in a lackluster 56-48 half-court game last Friday.
"No, we did not try to run with them. I don't believe we can run with them. We didn't get the kind of pressure on the ball that we had hoped to. Annapolis is every bit as good as I thought they were. They're deep, talented, and the match-up problems with them are on the perimeter.
"Not only are they talented, but they're so doggone big and have decent athleticism."
Included in the Panthers' shooting clinic inside and on the perimeter were seven three-pointers. Johnson hit three of them, and Neal, junior reserve Joe Feldmann (eight points) two each.
The loss was Severna Park's second straight. But the Falcons' Ayyub Ali provided one bright spot, a game-high 27 points.
Pub Date: 12/19/98