Tragedy has struck the Baltimore high school basketball community again.
Larry Ellison, a 17-year-old senior starter for Mervo's basketball team, suffered a fatal heart attack while sleeping at home Jan. 2, Mervo athletic director Woody Williams said.
Last April, Rodney Beasley, a starter for Walbrook, died in an automobile accident after an all-star basketball game.
Williams said an autopsy revealed that Ellison had an enlarged heart, although there was no previous indication of a medical problem.
"He went to bed after saying he felt drowsy, and when his mother tried to wake him the next morning to go to school, he was gone," said Mervo basketball coach John Blake.
Ellison was a popular athlete at Mervo and was noted for his work with needy families through the school and his church.
"He was what I consider a success story," said Blake, who also coached Ellison on the varsity last season. "He helped gather money and food and took it to St. Anne's Mission during Thanksgiving. In his senior year, he decided to do it all."
Mervo's scheduled game against Northern on Friday was canceled. Players met with a psychologist Thursday and Friday to talk about Ellison's death.
"You know how young men are," said Blake. "They are trying to be tough. Some of them did break down, but they stepped outside of the room to do it."
Ellison played in his last game for Mervo on Dec. 27 in a loss to Southwestern.
His funeral will be held today at 1 p.m. at March Funeral Home, 1101 E. North Ave, after a noon wake.
* Cardinal Gibbons senior forward Chuckie Lee seems completely recovered from the knee injury that forced him to sit out all of last season.
Lee, 6 foot 2, led the Crusaders to a 2-0 start in Catholic League play last weekend. On Friday, he had 15 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Loyola, and on Sunday he had 25 points and 12 rebounds in a victory over Calvert Hall.
"I'm really happy for the kid," said Gibbons coach Ray Mullis. "He sat out all of last year, but he's been our most consistent player."
Lee suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. It is the same injury that threatened the careers of NBA stars Bernard King, Mark Price and Ron Harper.
Mullis says Lee worked diligently to rehabilitate the knee last season while still finding time to attend nearly all of the Crusaders' games.
"He's actually better than he was before he got hurt," said Mullis. "He worked hard at his rehabilitation at Union Memorial. He sat on the bench last year and cheered us on."
* Gibbons guard Quintin Moody, who has signed with Towson State, is slowly getting back to All-Metro form after suffering a deep thigh bruise against DeMatha on Dec. 3.
Moody, who sat out four games, came off the bench to score 18 in Friday's victory over Loyola and 12 in Sunday's victory over Calvert Hall.
* The Charm City Classic on Jan. 17-18 at the Towson Center is shaping up to be a showcase of the nation's best teams, but ticket sales are slow.
Four of the nation's top five teams, according to USA Today, will be on display during the two-day mixer.
On Jan. 17 at 7 p.m., No. 1 Dunbar meets No. 2 St. Raymond's (N.Y.) in a rematch of a contest Dunbar won, 89-81, at the Beach Ball Classic on Dec. 29 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. At 9 p.m., Southern, the area's No. 2 team, which hasn't been able to crack the national top 25, gets a shot at No. 5 St. Anthony's (N.J.).
On Jan. 18 at 5 p.m., Walbrook will get another shot at No. 4 Simon Gratz of Philadelphia, which beat the Warriors, 66-58, on Dec. 14 at Walbrook. Southern and St. Raymond's meet at 7 p.m., and Dunbar will take on St. Anthony's at 9 p.m.
Tickets for the Charm City Classic are on sale at all TicketCenter locations, or call (410) 830-2244.
* Tom Slichter, seventh-year wrestling coach at Chesapeake Anne Arundel), has called this year's team, which is off to a 3-0 start, the best in his tenure.
The sixth-ranked Cougars, who were 8-5 last season and finished fourth in the Anne Arundel County Tournament, have just one wrestler with as low as a .500 record.
Led by sophomore Doug Horton (11-2, eight pins), the Cougars won last weekend's Aberdeen tournament and moved up to No. 9 in the Maryland State Wrestling Association's rankings. They face seventh-ranked Broadneck in an important county dual meet Thursday.
Others on the team include Mark Downey (103 pounds, 9-5 record), Rich Brown (112, 11-3), Steve Shirk (119, 6-1), Ron Alexander (125, 9-2), Rob Zittle (135, 8-5), Steve Davis (140, 5-5-1), Steve Kopp (145, 12-2), Ron Shirk (152, 8-5), Tony Perillo (160, 12-4), Shawn Somers (171, 13-1), Chuck McConnell (189, 12-3) and heavyweight Kevin Sellers (11-3).
Wilde Lake's Hamisi Amani-Dove was a first-team All-South pick the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Met Life All-America team committee.