Branden Albert was nearly unstoppable inside, scoring 13 of his team-high 25 points in the first period to propel No. 8 Glen Burnie to a 14-point lead en route to a 73-44 romp at Arundel High in Gambrills last night.
By the end of the first half, the 6-foot-7, 315-pound Albert had 19 points, four rebounds and four blocked shots. And the visitors had a 37-18 lead and the game in hand.
Arundel's Cory Henderson finished with 25 points, but no other Wildcat had more than four points.
The victory left the Gophers 13-2 overall and 9-1 atop the Anne Arundel County boys basketball league, with Arundel slipping to 9-6 and 5-4.
"It was over early," said Arundel coach Sam Golder, whose Wildcats had won seven of their previous eight. "They came out with a ton of energy. They played like this was a huge game for them, and I think we got a little shell-shocked. When you get shell-shocked against a real good team, it's hard to recover.
"Their opening burst finished us emotionally. I think we questioned whether we should be in the game after the first four minutes."
Mitch Guest, who finished with 16 points, had two of his four three-pointers in the first period as the Gophers raced out early.
Albert got his second foul with 2:12 left in the half, and Delayne Nelson, who tied Albert in rebounds with seven, scored seven of his 12 points in the second period to push the lead to 19.
When Albert got his third foul in the first five seconds of the second half and sat down, the Gophers didn't lose a beat, outscoring the Wildcats 25-13 for a 62-31 lead after three periods.
"I was trying too much to go for the big block and got myself in foul trouble, but we came out with the 'W' and had a good game," said Albert, who returned with 1:19 left in the third to score four points, including a tip-in at the buzzer.
"They spread out on us, and usually everybody tries to play us tight and double-down. I was able to do some things."
With Albert, Nelson and Tavis Snell leading the way with seven rebounds each, the Gophers out-rebounded the Wildcats, 30-17. Glen Burnie also outshot Arundel, 49 percent (31-for-63) to 32 percent (17-for-53).
"Branden came out like gangbusters, and I missed practice yesterday because of the flu," said Glen Burnie coach Mike Rudd, who cleared his bench with six minutes left in the game. "I gave my assistants the game plan and they put it in. Maybe I won't come to practice anymore. Seriously, that was probably the best game we've played all year."