Are the No. 1-ranked Western girls (8-0), fresh off winning the IAABO tournament at Prince George's Community College, putting their best team ever on the court?
Mount Hebron coach Dave Greenberg, whose teams have played some of the Doves' toughest teams over the years, says yes.
Greenberg's Vikings won the consolation bracket of the IAABO tournament after bowing to Springbrook, 63-45, the same team the Doves destroyed, 67-26.
Greenberg said 6-foot-3 center Dana Johnson "puts Western in another league by itself. When it's crunch time, Dana will do something -- get the key rebound, score the winning basket, get the clutch assist -- to win the game.
"That's the first reason I think it's Western's best team," Greenberg said. "The second is [5-11 guard] Kisha Ford. She's a great talent and [forward] Kelly Evans is the third reason. She can play with any big person around, except for Dana.
"Their guards are good athletes and play their role well."
Greenberg was disappointed his team did not play very well in its tourney opener against Springbrook.
"I wish we could have met Western," he said. "I'm not sure if we could beat them, but I think we could have played with them. When our defensive intensity is what it should be, we do OK."
The Vikings got a solid tournament performance from guard Erica McCauley, who shot 56 percent from the floor, scored 50 points and contributed 14 assists, 13 rebounds and 10 steals.
* Heading into tomorrow night's game at No. 2 Annapolis, the big question is how much playing time 7-foot-2 Boris Beck will see for 10th-ranked Broadneck.
Coach Ken Kazmarek has brought Beck along very slowly, perhaps too slowly. The Bruins are 8-1, however, so Kazmarek obviously knows what he is doing. Beck has performed well in the selected situations he has been given. In two minutes of court time during the Wes Unseld Classic over the holidays, Beck scored three points, grabbed a rebound and blocked a shot against Southwestern. He also scored seven points in the overtime championship victory over Woodlawn.
Will Kazmarek give him more court time against Annapolis and high-scoring Dennis Edwards (35.0 ppg)? Will it make any difference?
Bet on one thing. There will be a standing-room-only crowd jammed into the Panthers' gym tomorrow night.
* Cardinal Gibbons' Casey Musick made the 10-player all-tournament team at the Kingdom of the Sun tourney in Ocala, Fla., during the holidays. The Crusaders (7-4) dropped two of three to much taller teams with a combined record of 20-2. Gibbons lost its "big" man, 6-3 Chuck Lee, to a knee injury before the season began.
An interesting sidelight to the Crusaders' trip to Florida was provided by assistant coach Mike Dahlem. The Crusaders stayed at George Steinbrenner's hotel in Ocala, which is stocked with baseball memorabilia. Steinbrenner was in town, attended some of the tourney games and even went out of his way to compliment the Crusaders on their play and their conduct.
"When we told him about our mosaic of Babe Ruth [in the gym] at Gibbons, he said he'd like to stop by to see it," said Dahlem. "He was really nice to us. It was a good experience for the kids."
* Reminder: Nominate Athletes of the Week to The Evening Sun (332-6669) each Monday between 8 a.m. and noon. Update standings and statistics before noon on Wednesdays (332-6669).