The inside-outside game of Branden Albert and Mitch Guest combined for 55 points last night as host and No. 8 Glen Burnie earned a crucial 75-71 victory over No. 17 Old Mill in Anne Arundel County boys basketball.
Albert scored a career-high 30 points and Guest had 25 as the Gophers shot 48 percent (31-for-65) and overcame a poor night at the foul line (7-for-20, including 5-for-13 in the fourth quarter).
Glen Burnie (17-2) all but clinched a berth in the county championship game on Feb. 26. The Gophers are 12-1 in the county and need only one win in their final three games to finish in the top two.
Old Mill (15-4) is third in the county at 10-3 after losing for a second time this season to its fierce rival.
Unable to match up well with Albert, the Patriots couldn't stop the Gophers' big man in the first half and again at crunch time in the fourth quarter.
"We played our hearts out, but we can't match them in size, " said Kevin Barnes, who led the Patriots with 25 points.
Said Glen Burnie coach Mike Rudd: "Branden did a great job finishing and we also did a very good job of running offense. We were preaching inside-out, and when they doubled down on him, he kicked it out to Mitch or somebody else."
Albert, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound center who has a football scholarship to Virginia, scored 20 points in the first half and finished strong with eight in the fourth quarter. He had eight put-backs overall, 11 rebounds, two blocks and three assists.
"I was trying to dominate down low," Albert said. "We needed this win to get to the county championship and do well in the playoffs."
Guest, who made five of his team's six three-pointers, had six rebounds and four assists.
Old Mill tied the game at 60 with 3:10 left on a lay-in by Shane Rickmon, who had seven points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
Glen Burnie's Delayne Nelson made a put-back and added a free throw to complete a three-point play for a 63-60 lead with 3:02 left. He finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, and scored seven points in the last eight minutes.
Albert followed with three put-backs in the last two minutes and Guest added four free throws to help push the lead to 74-68 in the last 20 seconds.