With the holiday tournament fun now behind us, it is time for the county hoops scene to get down to business with the start of conferenceplay.
The Central Maryland Conference gets into gear this week with some interesting matchups between Carroll and Frederick teams.
In boys action, South Carroll entertains Thomas Johnson Friday. Both teams have been on a roll of late, with the Cavs winning a pair of games in the Westminster Holiday Mixer to improve to 5-2.
The Patriots (6-2) are coming off a 55-50 win Friday against Southwestern of Baltimore, ranked No. 5 by The Sun. In fact, Thomas Johnson has defeated five Baltimore-area schools in recent weeks, with Southwestern the most highly regarded of the lot.
South Carroll will have to contend with 6-foot-6 junior center Phil Williams, the Patriots main offensive threat in the middle. The Cavs counter with a balanced attackled by senior forwards Mike Downs and Scott Mills.
Downs leads the team in scoring, while Mills is coming off a career night against Palotti (Prince George's County) in the holiday tournament. He scored a career-high 31 points and added eight rebounds.
In other CMC games Friday, North Carroll will play host to Linganore, while Westminster is at home against Frederick.
In other sports this week:
* It looks like the CMC race on the girls side may come down to North Carroll and undefeated Linganore (7-0).
One team will get an early upper hand when they face each other Friday night at Linganore.
ThePanthers improved to 5-2 on the season after winning their own holiday tournament Dec. 28 (reaching the finals with a 73-35 win over Franklin, Baltimore County, and beating Centennial, Howard County, 62-47,in the championship).
Before they meet Linganore, the Panthers will take on Thomas Johnson (3-6) tonight.
Second-year coach Greg Knill is getting steady contributions from his entire team, with Michelle Jeffery and Jennie Cooper leading the way.
South Carroll (1-4) opens its conference slate at home against Linganore tonight. The Cavs haven't played since Dec. 17 and may be battling rust as well as a tough Linganore team.
The Westminster Owls, which entered the weekat 6-4, should get a good test when they travel to Frederick (4-3) on Friday.
If last Friday is any indication (a 67-29 romp over Quince Orchard, Montgomery County), the Owls enjoy Friday games.
* It's about time to start wondering if this is the year someone can contend with Dick Bauerlein's wrestling team up in North Carroll.
Both South Carroll and Liberty are off to 6-1 starts this season as conference time approaches.
Both teams will see conference action this week, with Liberty playing host to Frederick tonight and South Carrollvisiting Linganore tomorrow.
Francis Scott Key (3-0-1) will open its Monocacy Valley Athletic League schedule tonight at South Hagerstown, Washington County.
* The Western Maryland College men's basketball team will have a tough task tonight when it faces John Hopkins,8-0 after Monday night's 77-64 victory over Case Western.
WMC fell under the .500 mark Sunday with an 89-80 loss to Clark University from Massachusetts. It was the Green Terrors first game back from winter break.
The WMC women (4-3) will see their first action of the new year when they host Albright (Pa.) College (2-5) tomorrow night.
(All time p.m. unless noted)
Girlsbasketball: Thomas Johnson at North Carroll, JV at 5:30, varsity at 7; Linganore at South Carroll, 5:30 and 7
Men's basketball: Johns Hopkins at Western Maryland, 8
Wrestling: Francis Scott Key at South Hagerstown, 6 and 7:30; Frederick at Liberty,
5:30 and 7
Women's basketball: Albright at Western Maryland, 7
Freshman basketball: Westminster at North Carroll, 4 and 5:30; Linganore at South Carroll, 4 and 5:30
Wrestling: South Carroll at Linganore,6 and 7:30
Boys basketball: Francis Scott Key at Smithsburg, 5:30 and 7; Liberty at Centennial, 5 and 6:30; Linganore at North Carroll, 5:30 and 7; Thomas Johnson at South Carroll, 5:30 and 7; Frederick at Westminster, 5:30 and 7
Girls basketball: Smithsburg at Francis Scott Key, 5:30 and 7; Liberty at City College, varsity at4, JV follows; North Carroll at Linganore, 6 and 7:30; South Carrollat Thomas Johnson, 6 and 7:30; Westminster at Frederick, 5:30 and 7
Men's basketball: Gettysburg at Western Maryland, 8
Wrestling: Westminster at Francis Scott Key, 5:30 and 7; Liberty at Hammond with Chopticon, 11 a.m.; Western Maryland at Pennsylvania Duals at Franklin & Marshall, 9
Boys basketball: Frederick at North Carroll, 5:30 and 7
Girls basketball: Damascus at South Carroll, 5:30 and 7
Freshman basketball: South Carroll at Francis Scott Key, girls at 4, boys at 5:30; Liberty at Westminster, 4 and 5:30
Boys basketball: Catoctin at Francis Scott Key, 5:30 and 7; Liberty at City College, varsity at 4, JV follows; South Carroll at Damascus, 5:15 and 6:45; Faith Christian at Bowling Brook, 7
Girls basketball: Francis Scott Key at Catoctin, 6 and 7:30; North Carroll at Frederick, 6 and 7:30
Women's basketball: Western Maryland at Ursinus, 7
Wrestling: North Carroll at Liberty, 5:30 and 7; Thomas Johnson at South Carroll, 5:30 and 7