It was quickness against quickness as two very similar teams in Arundel and Old Mill ran from buzzer to buzzer last night in Millersville. The visiting Wildcats dealt the host Patriots their first loss of the season, 89-74.
No. 13 Old Mill (10-1) was the area's last unbeaten boys basketball team. Long Reach of Howard County was undefeated until losing to Howard High, 70-69, in overtime, last week.
Arundel was coming off a 65-64 upset loss at Southern of Harwood on Friday night.
"We needed to regain the respect of everybody around the county after losing Friday night," said Brandon Johnson-Farrell, who scored six points and had 11 rebounds and six assists for the Wildcats.
The teams were tied three times in the first half at 13, 23 and 31, but otherwise, Arundel (9-2) led all the way in the raucous, up-tempo game.
The Wildcats led 59-50 after three quarters and stretched that lead with a 30-24 fourth quarter.
"I don't know if there was any point in the whole game that we ever had momentum," said Old Mill coach Greg Smith, whose team was led by Deonte Puller's 21 points and 10 rebounds.
"We just couldn't stop their penetration, that was the biggest thing. When one guy can dribble through five guys and get a layup, that's not a good thing. We didn't have any help-side defense and our man-to-man defense was bad."
Creative Arundel had four players in double digits, led by Mandel Brown's 20 points, 11 boards and five assists, and followed by Jordan Benson's 19 points and 10 rebounds. Auraum Nuirankan chipped in 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks and point guard Julian Watson scored 13.
Brown's tremendous overall game was blemished only by a missed dunk at the start of the final period, but coach Jeff Starr took it in stride.
"Mandel had a great overall game, and we ask him to do a lot of things," Starr said.
"With us, if we are attacking the basket, I'm going to have to live with that [botched dunk]. If we are attacking the basket, more good things are going to happen than not."