North Carroll and Old Mill of Anne Arundel County hashed out which is the top wrestling team in the metro area last week.
This week, Westminster and Key could decide which is second best in Carroll County.
County coaches agreed North Carroll was top dog in Carroll at thebeginning of the season, and the Panthers' 39-21 loss to Old Mill onFriday notwithstanding, that still should hold true.
But nobody could agree which county team was second best.
Was it Key or South Carroll, two strong teams a year ago decimated by graduation? Or how about Liberty and Westminster, two young teams last year hoping to improve this time around?
Key travels to Westminster Saturday night (junior varsity match at 5:30 p.m., varsity match following around 7)and while that bout won't decide once and for all, it will help determine the second-best team in the county.
Liberty has the early-season edge, with wins over Key and South Carroll in dual meets. Still,Key finished ahead of the Lions in the Key Invitational over the holidays, which could mean the Lions are better in dual meets and the Eagles better in tournaments. Or, it may mean one of the teams had an off performance.
A Westminster victory over Key on Saturday would set up a showdown for second between the Owls and Liberty on Jan. 19 in Eldersburg. If Key beats Westminster, Liberty would have the insidetrack for second.
In other sports this weekend:
* Several key basketball games are on tap Friday night, including the South Carrollat Thomas Johnson boys game (6 and 7:30.)
South Carroll coach Jim Carnes and Thomas Johnson coach Tom Dickman played together at Shepherd College in West Virginia, and their friendly rivalry is evident any time the teams play.
Thomas Johnson, meanwhile, was stunned by Westminster, 82-68, on Friday in the teams' Central Maryland Conference opener.
Guard Bobby Onley scored 27 and forward Phil Williams 17 for the Patriots, but leading scorer Rojak West was held to just eight by the Owls, though he did haul in 12 rebounds. Onley also averages about five steals per game for the Patriots, 7-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
Offensively, Mike Downs is averaging about 11 points per game and George Dick 10 for the Cavaliers, 5-4 heading into yesterday's scheduled CMC opener against Linganore of Frederick County. Jamie Harich also is averaging more than four assists per game, and Dick has hit nearly 88 percent of his free-throw attempts.
* Other boys games Friday night include Smithsburg of Washington County at Francis Scott Key (5:30 and 7), North Carroll at Linganore of Frederick County (6 and 7:30) and Frederick at Westminster (5:30 and 7).
* The big girls game features North Carroll (6-3 and with a three-game winning streak headed into last night's game against Thomas Johnson) against surprising Linganore (7-1 overall) Friday (5:30 and 7) in Hampstead.
After struggling early in the season, North Carroll hasasserted itself recently, starting with a victory over North Harford (still one of the top-ranked teams in the metro area) and including a close loss to Mount Hebron of Howard County, another top-ranked area team.
The balanced Panthers offense includes Lisa Garland (15 points per game), Michele Jeffrey (9 points per contest) and Jenni Heindel (7 points).
The Lancers are paced by Pam Andersen (12 points per game) and Carrie Jenkins (11 points).
* Other girls games Friday: Key at Smithsburg (5:30 and 7), City of Baltimore at Liberty (5:30and 7), Thomas Johnson at South Carroll (5:30 and 7) and Westminsterat Frederick (6 and 7:30.
* Carroll Christian has a home triple header Friday at Longwell Armory in Westminster. The boys junior varsity meets New Life at 5 p.m., the girls play Heritage Academy at 6 andthe boys meet Heritage at 7:30.
* All five Western Maryland College teams compete Saturday.
The men's basketball team, which returned from holiday break Monday with a game at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, travels to Muhlenberg in a Middle Atlantic Conference-Southwest Section game tonight at 8, then plays host to Moravian at 8 p.m. Saturday in another section game.
The women, who ended the holiday breaklast week, play MAC-Southwest favorites Franklin & Marshall tomorrowat 7 at Gill Center, then visit Lebanon Valley at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The wrestling team has a tough challenge Saturday in Lancaster, Pa., in the Pennsylvania Duals, featuring several NCAA Division I teams.