Adrian Gross pulled down a county season-high 26 rebounds, setting the pace last night for No. 16 Southern to dominate the paint and defeat the No. 20 Old Mill boys basketball team, 71-61.
The host Bulldogs (12-5 overall, 9-2 league) broke their tie for second place in Anne Arundel County with Old Mill (11-6, 8-3). They both trail unbeaten Annapolis.
Southern earned its ninth straight victory as it guns for its first appearance in the county championship game since its inception in 1996. The final is set for Feb. 25 at Chesapeake.
"Adrian had a phenomenal rebounding game," said Southern coach Tom Albright. "He was going after everything. He's one of the best rebounders I've had here. He's as physically strong as anybody we've had."
Gross also finished with six blocked shots, 14 points, two steals and three assists.
"You have to really want to rebound," said Gross, who led Southern to a 36-27 lead at the half with seven of his points, 14 rebounds and five of his blocks.
"A lot of guys want to score, but rebounding is working and I enjoy it because I have a lot of guys around me who can score."
The 6-foot-6 Gross, who will attend Coastal Carolina, was one of three Bulldogs with a double double. The two wings around Gross in Justin Holland and Matt Hall were the others.
Holland had a game-high 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals while Hall had 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Chuck Warring led the Southern defense with six steals.
Southern out-rebounded the smaller Patriots 54-35. Old Mill, which has no starter over 6-3, stayed in the game by virtue of its quickness and perimeter game.
"Just about every county game we play, we're a little bit undersized," said Old Mill coach Greg Smith.
"We knew coming into tonight their size was going to hurt us, but we had 21 turnovers."
Kevin Barnes led Old Mill with 21 points.