Annapolis 79, Southern 71
Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
On the way to scoring a season-high 35 points, Annapolis senior guard Laronja Owens sank plenty of big shots in the Panthers' 79-71 victory over host Southern Friday night.
There was the driving layup against three defenders in the first quarter, the three-pointer to spark his team at the beginning of the second half, and the six free throws down the stretch to seal 19th-ranked Annapolis's 18th consecutive win.
However, no shot was bigger than the three-pointer Owens sank with 3 minutes 4 seconds remaining in the game. With Annapolis's 26-year coach John Brady sitting home because of back spasms, Owens jumped above a Southern defender and broke open a tie game with his fourth three-pointer of the game, giving Annapolis a 67-64 lead it never relinquished en route to its 74th straight win over an Anne Arundel County opponent.
"We have a few big-time players, but he is the one we look to go to when the game is on the line," said six-year assistant coach Dale Chambers, who filled in for Brady last night. "The game was tied up and it was big when he stepped up and hit that three. We wanted to take advantage of his abilities. He is a tough player."
Annapolis (18-1, 14-0 Anne Arundel) needed Owens, but it also needed senior center Josh Johnson (17 points, 10 rebounds), senior guard Kojo Snowden (18 points, five three-pointers) and junior forward Elliott Devoe, who was playing in his first game since being hospitalized with a concussion.
The Panthers bolted to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter, but it didn't take Southern long to get back in the game, thanks in part to senior center Adrian Gross (16 points, 11 rebounds) and senior forward Matt Hall (16 points, seven rebounds).
The Bulldogs (14-6, 11-3) tied the game at 19 on a basket by Gross, and took a 44-39 lead at halftime. However, Southern played only six players the entire game, and got into foul trouble late in the fourth quarter as Annapolis stormed back.
After Owens's three-pointer gave Annapolis a 67-64 lead, Gross fouled out on the next play, leaving a gaping hole in the middle for the Bulldogs.
"It's been like more than four years since we lost to a county team," Owens said. "When we came out at halftime, we had that confidence. We knew we were going to keep the streak alive."