No. 17-ranked Oakland Mills moved a step closer to its first Howard County championship since 1992 by defeating the Atholton Raiders yesterday, 70-48.
Atholton has won four of the last five county titles but was no match for visiting Oakland Mills' full-court, trapping defense and strength at guard.
The loss ended Atholton's 18-game home winning streak and dropped the Raiders four games behind Oakland Mills with five games to play.
Oakland Mills (14-3 overall, 12-1 league) forced Atholton into 31 turnovers, including 10 in the final quarter when the Scorpions outscored the Raiders 28-11. Oakland Mills shot 11-for-16 from the floor in the fourth quarter and 53 percent for the game.
Atholton ((9-6, 8-5) managed to control Oakland Mills' two top offensive players, holding Murray Graves to six points and three rebounds and Anthony Breland to 18 points and six rebounds, well below their season averages.
But the Scorpions' guards put up some nice numbers: Tom Browne had 16 points and three steals, Myke Price had 10 points and five steals, and Davon Smith had 10 points with four steals.
"Tom, Davon and Myke really stepped up and played well," said Graves, who turned in one of his best defensive efforts guarding Atholton's top scorer, Brian Boykins, who was held to seven points.
Boykins said: "Oakland Mills made its free throws and layups, and its press played well against us. Their coach did a good job."
Oakland Mills led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, but Atholton rallied in the third quarter to cut that lead to three.
Atholton's Angel Cotto sank a three-pointer and then converted on a drive to slice the lead to 38-35.
Oakland Mills' next three baskets came off steals after Atholton center Steve Waddy fouled out with 4: 52 to play. The rest of the game was downhill for Atholton, which was led in scoring and rebounding by Jason Allmond (18 points, 13 rebounds).
"We were ready to play emotionally and knew Atholton would be ready because it has a lot of tradition. Their gym is a tough place to play," Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby said. "We hit a lull in the third quarter, and our offense wasn't quite there tonight, but we played well defensively and scored off that."
Atholton coach Jim Albert said: "We gave it everything we had in the third quarter, but our gas tank was empty in the fourth quarter. We're down to 10 players, and three of them were taped."
Pub Date: 2/06/99