Boys’ basketball: Old Mill stays in contention with high-scoring offense

February 3, 2014

When its game against North County finally came to an end Friday night, Old Mill had scored 96 points — no small feat in the world of high school basketball. Sure, the Knights had also put up 77, but for Coach Greg Smith, those points are all part of the plan.

The Patriots have given up more points than any other team in Anne Arundel County this season, but they lead the county in scoring, too. In 18 games this season, they have eclipsed 90 points four times. In 244 games, the rest of Anne Arundel County (both boys and girls) has combined for three 90-point games.

Smith has encouraged his team to push the ball in transition at all costs, and that philosophy has paid dividends in recent weeks. Old Mill (8-10, 7-5) has won four straight while scoring an average of 83 points.

“We pretty much try to outrun you or score in transition,” Smith said. “We’re trying to secure a rebound and get the ball up the floor. We’re not big enough inside to run a half-court offense. If the game’s going to be in the 50’s, we’re probably going to lose.”

While Severna Park has climbed atop the county standings with a controlled, deliberate approach, the Patriots bring an opposite mentality to both ends of the floor. They complement a run-and-gun offense with a frenetic, man-to-man press on defense.

Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the week of basketball in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

“We just create a lot of turnovers, and when we’re creating turnovers, those turn into transition points,” senior guard Chris Simmons said. “It’s just all about getting up and down the floor.”

Smith singled out Simmons, who scored a game-high 24 points Friday, as one of the players who has fueled Old Mill’s winning streak.

Smith has also used the team’s leading scorer, David Jones, a little bit differently in the past four or five games, asking the senior forward to be a more constant presence in the paint. As a result, Jones has collected more rebounds and been in the middle of most transition opportunities, either attacking the rim or starting the fast break and knocking down a trailing three-pointer.

While the transition game is flourishing, Simmons also said the Patriots have been more cohesive during their four-game streak.

“We just attack the ball more, pass the ball more, and that’s really the key,” he said. “A lot of our offense and defense is just us working together. All five players on the court are moving together at one time. It’s more about team chemistry than anything.”

Around the area

Southern girls’ basketball Coach Linda Kilpatrick could pick up her 500th win Tuesday at Glen Burnie. Kilpatrick, who is now in her 37th year, is the winningest active coach in the state of Maryland. She has led the Bulldogs to five state championships and 13 state tournament appearances. . . .

Northeast guard Clay Smith made the 118th three-pointer of his varsity career Friday in a loss to Chesapeake, matching a school record that has stood since 1992. Smith, who is averaging 12.2 points for the Eagles this season, also tied the single-season record by knocking down 58 threes last season. . . .

The Severna Park boys won their eighth straight game Friday with a 47-41 overtime victory against South River. The Falcons have a two-game lead in the county standings but will face Meade (13-5, 8-4), Glen Burnie (10-7, 8-5) and Arundel (12-6, 9-3) before season’s end.

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