The weather outside may have been frightful, but the action inside was delightful to a pair of Carroll girls basketball teams at snow-delayed holiday tournaments that wrapped up last weekend.
Those tournaments are a springboard to the regular season, which resumes tonightand includes the season's first batch of Central Maryland Conferencegames.
Liberty's girls had perhaps the most surprising holiday showing, capturing their own Liberty Belle Tournament with victories over Howard (ranked in the Top 20 in the metro area) and Atholton of Howard County (an unranked team that stunned ranked Catonsville of Baltimore County in the first round). The Lions are 4-4 and already have improved on last season's 3-19 record.
Liberty visits Centennial of Howard County tonight (5 p.m. JV, 6:30 p.m. varsity), then opens its Central Maryland Conference season at Linganore of Frederick County Friday (6 p.m. JV, 7:30 p.m. varsity).
North Carroll's girls also had a pleasant holiday. With a 50-26 rout of host Westminster in the title game Saturday, North Carroll improved to 5-3 and has won four of fiveafter a slow start.
The Panthers will try to continue their hot streak tonight at Fallston of Harford County, a team North Carroll defeated, 62-46, to start the season.
North Carroll starts the CMC season Friday at two-time league and state Class 3A champ Thomas Johnson in Frederick (6 p.m. JV, 7:30 p.m. varsity). But the Patriots are just a shadow of the past, having limped to a 1-5 start.
Two other county teams in the Westminster tournament split.
Westminster topped Key in Friday's opener, 51-37, before losing to the Panthers in Saturday's final. The Owls take on Thomas Johnson at home tonight in their CMC lid-lifter (5:30 and 7) and then play host to Poly of Baltimore in a non-league tilt Friday (also 5:30 and 7).
Francis Scott Key also split its games, beating Littlestown (Pa.), 40-29, in the consolation game. The Eagles resume play in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League at Williamsport of Washington County Friday (5:30 and 7).
South Carroll's girls skipped the tournament scene and resume action with a pair of non-league games -- tonight at Wilde Lake of Howard County (6 and 7:30) and Friday at Walkersville of Frederick County (6 and 7:30).
Tournament results were decidedly less upbeat for the boys.
South Carroll defeated host New Oxford (Pa.) in the opener lastWednesday, then lost to Hanover (Pa.), 88-75, in Friday night's finale at the New Oxford Colonial Holiday Tournament. Like the girls, theCavs begin 1991 with non-league games against Wilde Lake tonight (5:30 and 7) and Walkersville Friday night (5:30 and 7), though both boys games are in Winfield.
Westminster opened its own Holiday Classic with a victory over Rockville of Montgomery County Friday, but fellto St. John's of Frederick County, 67-42, in Saturday's championshipgame. Westminster is at Thomas Johnson tonight (6 and 7:30) and is off Friday.
Key beat North Carroll for the second time this year and improved to 4-3 overall by winning the consolation game of the North Carroll Holiday Tournament, 62-49, Saturday. The Eagles resume MVALplay Friday when Williamsport visits (5:30 and 7).
North Carroll,which had the best start among county teams, fell to 5-3 with lossesin both rounds of its tournament (Franklin of Baltimore County nipped the Panthers, 65-62, Friday). The Panthers entertain Fallston tonight (5:30 and 7) and Thomas Johnson Friday (same times).
Liberty, meanwhile, fell to 1-7 on the season with a pair of losses in the boysdivision of the Liberty Bell, including a 63-62 heartbreaker in Saturday's consolation game. The Lions play host to Centennial tonight and Linganore in a CMC game Friday night (both 5:30 and 7).
In othersports this weekend:
* The top two teams in the state, based on early-season Maryland State Wrestling Association rankings, tangle when No. 2 Old Mill of Anne Arundel County travels to Hampstead to face top-ranked North Carroll at about 7:30 p.m. Glen Burnie of Anne Arundel County also is on the card.
* Carroll Christian High returns toaction Friday night with home games against Frederick Christian. Thegirls go at 6, the boys at 7:30 at the Longwell Armory.
* The Western Maryland College women return to action tomorrow with a 7 p.m. game at Albright in Reading, Pa.