Sometimes neighborhood rivalries can bring out the worst in two good teams, and it did last night as No. 12 Old Mill pulled away in the final quarter to ring up a 61-47 victory at No. 13 Glen Burnie.
"We know when we play Glen Burnie, it's going to be intense and the gym is going to be packed," said Old Mill coach Greg Smith.
Neither team took good care of the basketball in the Anne Arundel County boys game that matched two teams with 8-1 overall records. The winning team actually had more turnovers, 24, to Glen Burnie's 23, but the Patriots dominated on the boards and took more shots and made more shots in what both coaches agreed was a very sloppy game.
Old Mill shot 36 percent, landing 26 of 72 attempts, to the Gophers' 29 percent on just 16 of 55. Senior guard Alex Buchholz had a game-high 13 points for Old Mill, followed by Devin Jones, who had 12 off the bench.
"Our big men dominated the boards. Travis and Rodney played tremendous tonight, boxing out," said Buchholz.
The Patriots' 6-foot-8 post players, senior Travis Hyman and junior Rodney Stokes, and 6-3 Jamiek Johnson combined for 21 points, eight blocks and 22 rebounds as the victors out-rebounded their rivals, 38-20.
"It dealt us a little bit of a blow playing without our point guard in Andrew Engel, who was ejected in our last game and had to sit tonight," said Smith.
"Not having Andrew hurt our continuity because it wasn't the lineup we've had all season. But we put some other kids in and tried to go bigger and go zone and make them [Glen Burnie] go from the outside. When you have two 6-8 kids in there, you should control the boards."
It was an especially sweet win for the Patriots, who lost three times to the Gophers last season. It was Glen Burnie's first home loss in two years, the last to Old Mill in the final home game of the 2002-2003 season.
"Tonight we never got in our zone offense and we weren't prepared for their zone and that falls straight on my shoulders," said Gophers coach Mike Rudd.
"Their size really bothered us and was problematic. Right now they're a little better than us."
Both teams have one county league loss and Arundel has none.