It’s early but the third year has been the charm so far for Old Mill High boys’ basketball. The No. 18 Patriots defeated Chapelgate Christian Academy, 70-62, to win the Royal Division title at the Spartans Holiday Tournament at Laurel Tuesday evening.
Sophomore guard Avion Robinson scored a game-high 25 points for Old Mill, and Daevone Johnnson added 11. Jason Murphy posted a double-double of 23 points and 18 rebounds for Chapelgate.
Locals fared well at the Prince George’s County event with Reservoir, Southern and Wilde Lake winning their respective brackets. The Gators defeated Oxon Hill from Prince George’s County, 70-62, for the Gold crown.
Kevin Miller led Reservoir (8-0 overall) with 17 points and Zabril Carey added 12. The Howard County school regrouped in the fourth quarter after blowing a 15-point halftime lead.
Southern improved to 7-0 with a 70-47 rout of Prince George’s County’s Crossland for the White title. Jarius Carroll recorded a game-high 21 points for the Bulldogs and Curtis Holland added 14.
In an all-area matchup, Old Mill led by as many as 20 points en route to its seventh win in as many decisions. It’s the longest win streak for the Anne Arundel County program under third-year coach Mike Francis.
Francis, who previously coached at CCBC-Essex after a 10-year stint at North County, said leadership has been the difference this season.
“We say all the time a player-based team is always better than a coach-based team,” said Francis. “They’re doing as an unit and as a family, and it’s really working.”
“We’re knocking down shots, most of time,” said Robinson. “It starts with hard defense.”
Robinson scored 13 points in the second quarter, helping the Patriots turned a 19-10 advantage into 39-29 at intermission. Chapelgate (5-9) briefly shaved the deficit under double-digits (46-37) after an inside basket from Murphy late in the third, but a three-pointer from Robinson and basket from Hollique Smith-Johnson put the Millersville school up 51-37.
The lead expanded to 20 as Robinson dropped his fourth 3-pointer of the evening. Smith-Johnson and William Spriggs each finished with 10 points for the Patriots.
The Yellow Jackets were able to make the final score respectable, but coach Frick Frierson said inconsistency doomed his squad.
“We didn’t hit free throws, missed some layups in the first half and really weren’t disciplined about running our stuff,” said Frierson. “We played more like we supposed to do in the second half, but still made some mistakes, being impatient. We beat ourselves in some ways, but Old Mill is good. They’re undefeated for a reason.”
With three senior starters, Frierson is hoping to make a stand in the MIAA B Conference. The Yellow Jackets host Annapolis Area Christian School, which has reached the last two MIAA B final, after the holiday break.
Old Mill hosts Southern to start the 2017 portion (Jan. 4) of the regular season. The Patriots, Southern and No. 12 Glen Burnie are undefeated as Anne Arundel County play amps up.
“There’s a lot of good teams in our county, so as we come back, teams know you better and will try to take things out, how we respond to that is going to be key,” said Francis. “A win like this and playing in this tournament helps us as we move forward.”
Spartans Holiday Tournament
Royal Division final
No. 18 Old Mill 70, Chapelgate Christian Academy 62
Chapelgate – Murphy 23, Dickerson 15, Vestrand 8, McEachin 7, Morant 5, McCray 2, Tringall 2. Totals 23 13-26 62.
Old Mill – Robinson 24, Johnson 11, Smith-Johnson 10, Spriggs 10, Jenkins 9, Bush 4, Brent 1. Totals 27 10-14 70
Chapelgate 10 19 8 25 – 62
Old Mill 19 20 12 19 – 70
White Division final
Southern 70, Crossland 47
Crossland – Crowell 18, Hildebrandt 12, Edmonds 5, Jackson 4, Moore 4, Howard 2, Banks 4. Totals 16 10-17 47.
Southern – Carroll 21, Holland 14, Graves 12, Salisbury 7, Horvath 5, Nation 4, Willis 3, Drake 3, White 1. Totals 28 9-14 70.
Crossland 10 10 12 15 – 47
Southern 17 9 20 24 – 70
Gold Division final
Reservoir 70, Oxon Hill 62
Reservoir – Miller 17, Carey 12, Okolo 11, Baker 8, Payne 8, Akinbunu 7, Walker 2, Ricketts 2, Ajimatanrareje 2, Diarra 1.
Oxon Hill – Mike 14, Deandre 11, Jabraun 8, Watt 8, Tyler 7, Reggie 6, Evan 5, Domo 2, Antwan 1.
Haltftime – Reservoir 34, Oxon Hill 19