ELDERSBURG — This past weekend was filled with the hoopla surrounding the state'shigh school basketball championship games.
Meanwhile, here in Carroll County, another group of high school youngsters decided their own basketball championship.
But the sports wires did not sing with the news that Gold topped Red, 72-46, to win the St. Joseph's Athletic Association's senior boys' division postseason championships Friday night. And radio and television didn't disseminate those championship results statewide with electronic immediacy, as they did with the more ballyhooed high schoolbasketball contests.
Nevertheless, for the 100 or so spectators who crowded the bleachers in the St. Joseph's Church gymnasium, the game was a major happening.
Parents cheered the young players while the players' high school chums alternated between cheering them and, more often, ribbing them good-naturedly when they erred -- or even when they didn't.
St. Joseph's senior division commissioner Mike Gesuele was in a happy mood as he talked about it all afterward in the kitchen next to the church gym.
Gesuele was happy for several reasons.
First was the success of his rec basketball program, the only one in Carroll County for 11th- and 12th-grade boys, and his obvious satisfaction in providing this opportunity for young men who otherwise would have nowhere else to play.
"I love these kids," said Gesuele. "I love the games here. I'd much rather have them playing basketball here on Friday night then getting into other things."
He also likes the quality of play, saying a number of the St. Joseph's leagueplayers are good enough to play high school varsity or junior varsity.
But, he said, some can't put in the practice time because of work commitments and others would rather play full-time rec ball than ride their high school team's bench.
But the most immediate reason for his post-game ebullience was the fact that, after all, he was thewinning coach.
His young Golds had been second in the regular season but took the postseason title by using a potent running game to sweep both semifinal and final playoff games.
The finale, in fact, wasn't even close after midway in the second quarter, when a 21-4 streak put Gold in the driver's seat.
Until then, Red had put up a struggle.
Red, the underdog, had been tied for last in the four-teamsenior loop during the regular-season.
But it then shocked everybody by beating regular-season first-place finisher Blue in the semifinals, 34-32.
That win, on the strength of a jump shot by Bill Kerner with seconds left, put Red in the finals against Gold, which beat
Red two of three games during the year.
"We're a fast team, but (Gold) is much quicker than us," said Red coach Ken Carfine.
"Weknew that going into the game."
Gold thrust into a quick 12-6 lead behind the shooting of Steve Lyons, who hit 14 points for the game.But it went cold midway in the period, missing eight of nine shots and turning the ball over eight times.
Matt Patterson, whose 13 points led Red, and Greg Carfine then pushed Red in front early in the second quarter, 19-17.
But after Jason Krepjs' jumper made it 19-17Red, his team would score only once more in the quarter.
Gold began dominating both backboards, which keyed its running game and gave it numerous easy baskets on the offensive end.
That pattern continued in the second half. There, the game got totally out of hand with Gold, led by Greg Osborne's 24 points, turning the game into a rout long before the final buzzer.
Gesuele said the running game was keyto Gold's success.
"I knew I had a quick enough team, but we aren't great shooters," he said.
He added that, had the game stayed close, the outcome could have been different.
"If it were close in the last quarter they could have won. They have one or two guys who can hit from 20 feet out. I have none," Gesuele said.
But his troopsmade sure that didn't happen.
"Other kids can't keep up with us when we run. When we run, we win," said Gesuele.