It was almost a second straight perfect week for the Prophet, but asthose of us in sports know, almost counts only in horseshoes.
Your rage of a sage picked the winner in every game he handicapped last week, but two of them didn't cover the Prophet's exclusive point spread.
In the big Class 4A Region IV boys basketball, Annapolis held offBroadneck, 71-69, but the Prophet had picked the Fighting Panthers to win by five points. With just under six minutes to go and Annapolisup by 14, the Prophet's pick looked like a lock.
But the Bruins came roaring back with 7-foot-2 Boris Beck leading the way.
The other miss came in the girls Class 2A Region III semis, where the Prophet thought Southern would lose at top-seeded Fairmont Heights in Prince George's County by at least five points. In a strong showing, Southern dropped a 52-51 heart-breaker.
Northeast lost the other 2A Region III girls semifinal by the Prophet's predicted four points, 52-48, to Frederick Douglass of Prince George's. And just as the Prophet told you, Fairmont Heights won the region title.
In the girls Class4A Region IV semis, the rage of a sage tabbed Old Mill and Broadneckas winners with Old Mill to take the region final over the Bruins. That is precisely the way the scenario went.
Old Mill easily covered the three-point spread over Severna Park, winning by 45-32, while Broadneck, a one-point favorite, ripped North County, 51-34.
Top-seeded Old Mill then copped the Region IV championship by more than thepredicted two points. The Patriots buried two-time defending state champion Broadneck, 49-35.
So, with the 5-2 slate, the Prophet ran his overall record a little bit closer to that 70 percent rating he is chasing. The Prophet takes a 128-56 record into the final weekend of high school hoops. His percentile stands at .696.
While only twocounty teams are left in the Annapolis boys and Old Mill girls, the Prophet has worked things out to a standard six-pack by picking the other semis and eventual state champs. Let's get to it.
Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class 4A state semifinals at Cole Field House, University of Maryland -- tonight.
vs. Parkdale (19-5)
9 p.m.: Defending state 4A champion Annapolis has to be beat an outstanding team of the same name a second time. Both teams are Panthers, so the Prophet could just say the Panthers will win it, but you know he never cops out.
It was back on Dec. 6 that Parkdale visited the Cap City and went back home to Prince George's County a tired 110-101 loser. The game was reminiscent of last year's state championship game taken by Annapolis over High Point (Prince George's), 106-102.
Dennis Edwards produced an Annapolis school-record 50 points that night, just two shy of the county record of 52. On the other side, Parkdale's 6-foot guardIrvin Church popped in 41 points and the team's 6-foot-5 twins, Brent and Brett Sherrill, combined for another 36 points.
Annapolis coach John Brady says this Parkdale team is a team of "great athletes,"and that is his main concern.
Parkdale only won five games last season but has come of age in posting a 19-5 record, including an 80-77 upset of defending Region III champion High Point last week.
Itsstyle is very similar to that of Annapolis in that both love to run,run and run some more. It should be a very exciting, fast-paced contest with Brady hoping to get big games again out of Edwards and Delmore Howard, who had 28 points in the first meeting.
If those two can produce again, and Rob Wooster comes out with a big night, the Fighting Panthers should return to the championship game.
Annapolis will be out to become only the third team in 4A history (was AA before)to repeat as state champion and the first since Northwestern back in1967 and 1968. Montgomery Blair first did it in 1961 and 1962.
Both schools own two state titles -- Annapolis in 1974 and 1990, Parkdale in 1971 and 1976.
This game will be a spectators' delight and give the basketball junkies a natural rush, but in the end, Annapolis will be back to defend its state championship on Saturday night.
As Wooster told me after the pressure-filled Region IV final over Broadneck, "When the pressure is on, we seem to come together as a team and execute well to be victorious in the end."
Annapolis plus 2 over Parkdale (could be overtime).
vs. Quince Orchard (19-4)
7 p.m.: Look for Springbrook to erase the bad memoryof its 87-71 loss to Quince Orchard back on Dec. 18 in this battle of Montgomery County teams.
The Blue Devils of veteran coach John Barrett are a tournament team as evidenced by last week's stunning 75-74 upset of previously unbeaten Montgomery Blair (23-1) in the RegionII playoffs.
Many D.C.-area observers had conceded the state championship to Blair, but not the Devils, who last won a state title in 1988 and one other time in 1972.