Old Mill senior Orvill Brown arrives at basketball practice in a different kind of uniform -- his pale blue CVS work shirt. Senior Delray Eldridge also comes to practice after putting a few hours in at the CVS down the street, and senior forward Anthony Daily splits time between basketball and Jiffy Lube.

This season, the Patriots truly know what it means to have a work ethic, and they're all willing to do what it takes to have a winning winter -- including playing unselfish basketball.

"I see a lot out there when I look at these boys, a lot of hard work," Daily said at a recent practice. "I think the Patriots are going to do good things. We're the [sleeper] in the county. People look at Old Mill and say, 'We play Old Mill this week. Oh, that's an easy one.' They think because our two [leading] seniors graduated, we've got nothing out here, but we've got a lot."

All five starters graduated, leaving only six players from last season's roster. Coach Greg Smith promoted seven players from the junior varsity team, including sophomore Alex Buchholz, who is likely to start at point guard in his first season on varsity. At 6 feet, sophomore Terrell Ingram could help with rebounding and working the ball inside.

Still, Smith said the young but inexperienced group could surprise some people, and that's because of their dedication.

"We haven't been able to press because the kids haven't been able to do it," Smith said. "This group is a little more hard-nosed and won't just loaf when they get beat. That's something we haven't been able to do the last couple of years. They're going to go out there and give it 100 percent every play."

Daily, one of three senior starters, grew up shooting hoops in the neighborhood with his cousins, senior guard Tion Jackson and Eldridge, both who are projected starters this season. Daily was an inconsistent starter but is an aggressive post player.

"Everyone has their heads mentally prepared, and we've got some size this year," Jackson said. "This five should be way better than last year. We have more more size, better athletic ability. . . . Right now we need to work on spacing the floor out so everyone is not cluttered in the middle. If we do that, we'll be good."

Still, the team needs players to step up and fill the void left by graduate Sean Baynham, who was one of the county's top scorers last season with an average of 21.2 points per game. Graduate Quinton Dixon was the only other player to average double figures.

Junior Kevin Barnes, one of the school's top football players, said he dedicated a lot of time in the offseason to his AAU and summer league teams with the hopes of improving this winter.

"When I came back last year I was real rusty," Barnes said. "I worked hard this summer. People underestimate Old Mill. Last year we were a two-man team. This year people are willing to work with each other. Sean Baynham was a one-man show last year. We need at least four to five people averaging about 10 [points] a game."

Brown is a supervisor at CVS and said the combination of basketball, school and work "tends to be a lot." Still, he hit the weight room and increased his bench presses and squats in preparation for an increased role this season.

"I kind of figured I was going to have to step up this year," said Brown, a 6-4 center. "We have a lot of young people who can do some stuff, though, and I think we have a team that can make some noise."

Girls With seven sophomores, four juniors and a freshman on the roster, the Lady Patriots are young, but they have potential. Junior guard Danielle Ziegler, sophomore forward Jessica Dailey and 5-11 sophomore Alicia January are the only returning players with varsity experience, and most of the scoring is expected from Ziegler and Daily, with a little help from freshman Christy Watkins.

"We're a little more athletic, we're a little quicker, which will allow us to pick up the defensive pressure full-court style," Coach Craig White said. "They tend to work together pretty well. The key thing with a young group is are we going to have the leadership and the intensity?

"We want to first build the confidence and then build it into better things next year. It's a group that's not afraid to go out and play, so far."

Boys' Schedule

Dec. 12 at Crossland, 7:15

Dec. 17 vs. Hammond, 7:15

Dec. 19 vs. South River, 5:15

Dec. 26-27 at Glen Burnie Tournament, TBA

Jan. 3 at North County, 7:15

Jan. 7 vs. Northeast, 5:15

Jan. 10 vs. Annapolis, 7:15

Jan. 14 at Broadneck, 7:15

Jan 17 vs. Glen Burnie, 7:15

Jan. 21 at Severna Park, 5:15

Jan. 22 at Mount St. Joseph, 6

Jan. 24 vs. Meade, 7:15

Jan. 29 at Chesapeake, 5:15

Jan. 31 vs. Arundel, 5:15

Feb. 4 at Southern, 5:15

Feb. 7 at Meade, 7:15

Feb. 11 vs. North County, 7:15

Feb. 14 vs. Chesapeake, 7:15

Feb. 18 at Glen Burnie, 7:15

Feb. 21 vs. Northeast, 5:15

Girls' Schedule

Dec. 17 at St. Mary's, 4

Dec. 19 vs. South River, 7:15

Dec. 27-30 at Noel Classic, TBA

Jan. 3 at North County, 5:15

Jan. 7 vs. Northeast, 7:15

Jan. 10 vs. Annapolis, 5:15

Jan. 14 at Broadneck, 5:15

Jan 17 vs. Glen Burnie, 5:15

Jan. 21 at Severna Park, 7:15

Jan. 24 vs. Meade, 7:15

Jan. 29 at Chesapeake, 5:15

Jan. 31 vs. Arundel, 5:15

Feb. 4 at Southern, 7:15

Feb. 7 at Meade, 5:15

Feb. 11 vs. North County, 5:15

Feb. 14 vs. Chesapeake, 5:15

Feb. 18 at Glen Burnie, 5:15

Feb. 21 vs. Northeast, 7:15

Orvill Brown, front, is also a CVS supervisor. Danielle Ziegler, rear, is one of three returning varsity players.