For John Carroll boys basketball coach Rich Romanelli, Tuesday's 53-47 loss to Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference foe Severn seemed typical of the way the season has gone for the Patriots.
Despite a game-high 22 points and eight rebounds from junior guard Myron Cole, the visiting Patriots allowed the Admirals to build an early lead and were forced to play catch-up the rest of the game.
"This has been the way the whole season has gone," said Romanelli. "We always get down early, then we come back, but we just can't getover the hump."
A two-year varsity player at John Carroll in the late '60s, Romanelli had previously coached his alma mater for two seasons (1979-1981), when he compiled a 27-20 record.
This season, he inherited a team that went 10-16 last year as a member of the MSA BConference under former 10-year veteran coach Bernie Mullin.
Romanelli and assistant George Bartlett (his high school teammate) decided to return after new hire Pat Goles became ill.
"Its been a roughbeginning. I think it's because the kids have to learn a new system,a case of us having to get to know the kids and vice versa. Plus, we've only played one home game all year, but we'll be at home for six out of our last 10 games, so hopefully that will help us out," said Romanelli, who had a career-high 30 points at Severn's Memorial Gym in1969.
Severn (7-4 overall, 2-0 league) staked a 25-10 lead at thefive-minute mark of the second quarter on a three-pointer by John Vereen.
However, the Patriots (3-8, 1-1) clawed their way back to within three during the next four minutes with 12 unanswered points.
Vereen ended the half by draining his second trey of the afternoon to extend the Admirals' lead to 28-22.
The Admirals built an 11-point lead after the half but John Carroll went on a run with 2:45 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to four. Caleb Brown, who scoredeight points in addition to rejecting a game-high six shots, sparkedthe Patriots with four points, while Bel Air transfer Mike Brady andCole added single buckets. Geoff Pickett nailed a 40-footer at the buzzer to make the score 39-35.
After Aaron Buthod converted one oftwo foul shots, the Pats found themselves down by just three points with possession of the ball with 47 seconds left on the clock.
"Wetried to run the backdoor play, but we just didn't execute the way we wanted to. If Caleb hits Aaron with the pass, were only down by one, or he could have been fouled and you're looking at a possible tie,"said Romanelli.
Instead, Brown's pass sailed over Buthod, enabling the Admirals to seal the game, courtesy of an eight-foot bank shot by Chris Pitkin, and a foul shot by Jake Mack.