At Halfway Mark, Here's Where Boys Hoop Teams Stand

Vikings, Scorpions, Wildecats Are Favorites

January 30, 1991|By Rick Belz

Tonight's games complete the first half of the boys league basketball season.

Seven of the eight teams still have a shot at winning the title, although Mount Hebron, Oakland Mills and Wilde Lake have a slight advantage over the others.

Here are some mid-term grades:

Mount Hebron: Defense, B-plus; offense, B-plus.

The league-leading Vikings (8-6 overall, 5-1 league) are extremely well-coached defensively and are holding opposing teams to 57.5 points per game, the best among contending teams.

Their match-up zone defense has proved especially effective and was directly responsible for their upset victory over Oakland Mills. The Vikings held the offensive-minded Scorpions to an incredibly low 47 points.

"The match-up zone was something we weren't really ready for and we got out of sync," Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby said. "Mount Hebron played as well as they're capable, and we played terrible."

But the Vikings defense fell apart Friday during their first league loss, a 70-60 Hammond victory. And the Vikes will succeed or fail depending on how well that defense performs each night.

Mount Hebron's offense is led by solidly built 6-3 senior Mark Jantac, who averages 12.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Jantac is one of the few players in the league this year with the bulk and muscle to dominate inside.

Andre Johnson, a 6-1 senior transfer from Wilde Lake, leads the offense in scoring with 13.1 points and averages 7.1 rebounds. Thequick, small forward has lots of moves and is one of Mount Hebron's best clutch players.

Derrick Dorsey, a 5-9 senior point guard, is scoring 9.9 points per game and averaging five assists and does a good job guarding the ball. He sometimes tries to do too much, however, and takes some erratic shots.

The Vikings have a lot of other solid role players who take turns making big contributions on a given night.

Oakland Mills (8-6, 4-2): Offense, B-plus; defense, B-plus.

The Scorpions love to score and should be scoring much more than they are.

Senior guard Carruthers Gant is averaging 20 points per game as an outside shooter, and 6-5 forward Mark Terry is extremely tough inside as the No. 2 scorer.

Junior 6-5 forward Gregg Washington is a phenomenally talented No. 3 scorer who would lead most teams in scoring. He scored 37 points against Thomas Johnson and 30 against Linganore.

The Scorpions like to post low to Terry and let Gant hit the three-point shot, while Washington cleans up the garbage hoops.

"Gant is an incredibly talented shooter," Appleby said.

What keeps the Scorpions from a higher offensive grade is the high number of turnovers they make from their up-tempo offense.

They turned it over seven straight times down the stretch against Hammond, but the Bears didn't take advantage of it. They lost to Wilde Lake down the stretch because the Wildecats did take advantage of the turnovers.

TheScorpions also have a tendency to slip out of their offense and free-lance too much.

The Scorpions have the best man-for-man defense in the league but are inconsistent. They gave up 79 points to Wilde Lake, 77 to Hammond and 101 to Thomas Johnson.

Wilde Lake (7-7, 4-2): Offense, B; defense, B.

The Wildecats' shooting is inconsistent.One minute they launch air balls and the next minute they swish a three-pointer.

In losing to Loyola they scored only 48 points. In winning against Oakland Mills they got 79.

Randy Miller has been the most consistent shooter, scoring about 15 points per game. Point guard Joe Guyton has had some 20-point games, and Adam Tyer has startedscoring in double figures. Phil Chenier carried the team early in the season but has slumped.

The defense is inconsistent, holding Centennial to 56 and Glenelg to 34 in the last two games, but giving up 70 points far too often.

If the 'Cats continue to improve defensively they will remain a contender until the end. Like Oakland Mills, they have the quickness to apply the pressure needed to break opposing teams.

Hammond (6-7, 3-3): Offense, B-plus; defense, C-plus.

The Bears are averaging 75.5 points and giving up 72.8 points, and that defense is why they can't establish a winning streak.

They can score 70 points even against good defensive teams like Mount Hebron and Oakland Mills.

Kyle Jefferson is the main weapon. He averages 23.4 points and scored 78 points in three games last week. He also averages 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists.

Adam Walker is a solid No. 2 man who averages 13.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and six assists.

And Karl Williams is scoring 10.8 points and averaging nine rebounds.

The Bears play multiple defenses but must improve their defensive intensity if they hope to contend.

Centennial (8-5, 3-3): Offense, B-plus; defense, C-plus.

The Eagles scored 91 points against Howard and are usually in the 60s.

They are extremely balanced in scoring, frequently getting four or five players in double figures.

All five starters, Austin Groves, Damian Biggs, Chad Harris, Charlie Stewartand Sean Barth can put it in the hoop.

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