Patuxent boys’ basketball took to the road this summer in hopes of reversing a decade-plus of losing seasons. Second-year Coach Nick Wilson racked up more than 2,000 miles on his car in June from driving to summer leagues in Howard County and at Annapolis Area Christian School. On one summer night, the Panthers played two games at AACS then drove to Columbia for the third game of the evening.

The Panthers (3-1) put their summer work on display Friday in a 59-54 win against Thomas Stone (3-1), a traditional Southern Maryland Athletic Conference power that has been to the state tournament four times in the past six seasons.

“Especially for us, coming from where we’re coming, this lets everybody know where we’re headed over the next few weeks,” Wilson said.

The difference in Friday’s game was sophomore point guard Darus Maddox, who stepped in after senior Jahi Norman drew two quick fouls in the first two minutes of play. Maddox, one of the smallest Panthers at 5-7 who scored 42 points in a JV game last season, contributed 15 points and what ultimately turned out to be the game-winning three pointer with 20 seconds left. Senior forward Jake Anderson added nine points and 13 rebounds in the win.

“Darus played like a senior. He ran it, pressured on defense, brought a ton of energy and didn’t miss a beat,” Wilson said. “It’s exactly what you’re hoping your young guys are going to do.”

The win came after a 64-53 loss on the road to Northern (2-1). The Patriots were able to disrupt Patuxent’s pace and kill their confidence with a tougher mental and physical game, Wilson said, forcing the squad to revert back to the errors of years past. A couple of the Panthers had five or six clean looks for a three, but no one was able to connect.

The difference between those two performances just 48 hours apart makes it even more important for the Panthers to prove themselves, Wilson said.

“We don’t want this Thomas Stone game to be a fluke,” he added. “These kids were really dedicated this summer. They’re tired of being at this point in the conference, and they’re working.”