Kevin Barnes celebrated his signing of a national letter of intent for a football scholarship to the University of Maryland yesterday by leading Old Mill's boys basketball team to an 83-80 comeback win over Annapolis.
Barnes scored 12 of his team-high 18 points in the last period as the No. 18 Patriots overcame a 12-point deficit.
"Today was a good day for me and losing a game like this tonight would have just ruined the whole day," said Barnes, a 6-foot-2 and 165-pound All-Metro defensive back headed for College Park.
"It was a good way to end it. We have clutch players without a big superstar. I had been in a slump and it was a good day to come out of it."
The host Patriots (12-3) also overcame a career-high 42 points and six of the team's 10 three-pointers by Tavon Randall of the Panthers (9-7).
Old Mill trailed 65-53 early in the fourth quarter, but outscored the Panthers, 30-15, in a furious, final period. Both teams shot 54 percent for the game, Old Mill, 34-for-63 from the field and Annapolis was 30-for-56.
The Patriots placed all five starters in double figures in running its Anne Arundel County league record to 8-2. Annapolis is 6-4.
Alex Buchholz and Terrell Ingram added 17 points each, Shane Rickmon added 12 and Greg Phelps had 10 for the winners.
The victors took advantage of the Panthers' 1-for-8 shooting from the line in the final eight minutes and 1-for-11 in the half.
"We decided to play four minutes of basketball in the middle of the fourth quarter and we played like we are capable of playing," Old Mill coach Greg Smith said.
"I don't know if it was because it was Annapolis and the fact that they've always been good. It's a big game to play them. We started to get a little more confidence in our shots, but it was tough to guard Tavon [Randall]. He kept bringing them back."
Barnes' free throw with 6:46 left started the rally and he tied the game at 72 with a three-pointer and again at 75 with a basket and 1:40 remaining. His final basket gave Old Mill an 82-78 lead with 38 seconds left.
Annapolis regained the lead 78-77 with 60 seconds left on a three-pointer by Trayvon Parker.
Phelps' three-pointer made it 80-78 Old Mill and was followed by Barnes' last basket. Randall answered for Annapolis to cut it to 82-80 with 30 seconds left. A Buchholz free throw with six seconds left capped the scoring.
"We tried to get it up the floor and get a look and dish it off if they double-teamed [Randall], but we held on to it too long," said Annapolis coach John Brady.
"We can't depend on Tavon getting 42 every night. We've got to do a better job as a team."