John Brady of Annapolis became the all-time winningest coach, boys or girls, in Baltimore metro history last night when his team won a 55-54 thriller over visiting St. Mary's to give him 622 career wins.
The victory enabled Brady to pass the late Cardinal Gibbons coach Ray Mullis, who was 621-346 (.642) in 31 seasons.
Only retired DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten (1,274-192, 46 seasons) and Cokey Robertson, (765-590), in his 39th season at St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown, have more wins in Maryland state history.
Down by 52-51 to the Saints (17-7) with 50 seconds remaining, Annapolis (13-3) got a basket from Lateef Williams with 17 seconds to go and then a one-handed slam by David Chapman with nine seconds left to make it 55-52.
St. Mary's, a contender in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference, would miss two shots in the final five seconds after Josh Morgan-Green made a pair from the line to pull the Saints within a point at 55-54.
Brady's Panthers won despite having a poor shooting night from both the field (19-for-50, 38 percent) and the line (13-for-23, 57 percent).
After the game, Brady remembered Mullis fondly.
"Ray Mullis was one of the first guys I ever talked to [in the coaching profession] when I started coaching back then [1977-78]," said Brady, who has reeled off 30 consecutive winning seasons and is 622-121 (.837) in his 30 years.
"We played them every year for about three or four years, then we started scrimmaging every Thanksgiving Saturday with them for a long time," Brady said. "I used to go up and watch Ray's teams practice and I really admired the way they got after it on defense.
"I also admired the way Ray got after life. He was my kind of guy, a fun-loving guy. Players loved playing for him."
Brady's players love playing for him, as well.
"Mr. Brady can be very intimidating at first, but after you play for him for awhile, you realize that he really cares about you," said senior Zack Gassman, who had seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Williams and Chapman tied for game-high honors with 17 points each while Steve Hodney, a first-time starter as a senior for the Panthers, had a career night. Hodney hit three straight three-pointers in the final period as Annapolis came back from a six-point deficit.
Josh Hartman fired in five threes - including four in a row in the second period - for his 15 points for the Saints. Morgan-Green chipped in a dozen, and Nick Groce had 11 points.