A Study In Basketball Contrasts

Talented Scorpions, Wily Vikings Honored

March 15, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff writer

It made for a fascinating season -- two top county boys basketball teams as different in style as night and day.

Oakland Mills had five highly talented players, who sometimes played selfishly. Nevertheless, the Scorpions won their fifth straight county championship as expected.

Mount Hebron, with far less individual talent, epitomized team play and unexpectedly finished second, just one game behind Oakland Mills.

The Scorpions (18-7 overall, 12-2 league) won by crushing opponents in seven of their 12 league victories, winning by an average 23points per game. They won all 12 by at least six points, and their average margin of victory was 16.6 points.

But the "cardiac" Vikings (17-7, 11-3) slipped past opponents like skilled cat burglars, winning eight of their 11 league victories by a total of 24 points.

Mount Hebron beat Wilde Lake twice in overtime, one being a triple overtime.

For their efforts, both squads receive special post-season recognition.

Mark Terry, the foundation on which the Oakland Mills team was built, is the Howard County Sun's Player of the Year.

AndScott Robinson, the first-year Mount Hebron coach, earns a much-deserved Coach of the Year honor.

This was the year of the transfer incounty ball. Eleven transfers showed up on rosters this season, including two key ones at Oakland Mills -- John Hilliard and Mike Phillips.

For many, it also was a year of heartbreak. For the first time since 1979, no boys team won a regional title.

And most teams didn't fare as well overall as they hoped.

Take perennially powerful Hammond. The Bears (8-14, 6-8) suffered seven league losses by a combined total of 20 points. They twice lost to Centennial by one point. Two other games were lost in overtime, including one to Howard in the final game that eliminated Hammond from the playoffs. That's heartbreak.

Here's a brief look at the top players of the 1991-92 season.

FIRST TEAM

* George Bradford of Wilde Lake led the league in scoring with a 19.7 average. He scored 473 points in 24 games. His strength was his ability to drive to the basket even in heavy traffic.

Bradford also was skilled in scoring off fast-breaks and could hit three-point shots with proficiency. He averaged 3.9 rebounds and threeassists.

The highly athletic senior scored 30 points in an 80-77 regional semifinal victory at Brunswick and 32 in an upset win over Oakland Mills on Feb. 20.

Without him, the Wildecats (13-11 overall, 8-6 league) surely could have had a losing season instead of finishing in third place.

* Gregg Washington of Oakland Mills, a 6-foot-5 senior, averaged 16.6 points and 9.2 rebounds.

A tremendous all-around athlete, Washington was recruited by several colleges for basketball, including St. Joseph's of Philadelphia. But he will attend Howard University and play football. He scored 22 points in a come-from-behind win over Thomas Johnson and 30 in a loss to Watkins Mill.

* Damian Biggs of Centennial (14-9 overall, 8-6 league) averaged 18.7points per game and led his team to its best season in recent years,a third-place tie.

The skilled junior played a starring role in one of the year's most unforgettable games, when the Eagles rallied from 18 points down late in the third quarter to upset Oakland Mills. Biggs scored 35 points in that game, his career high.

He also scored 26 in a one-point win over Hammond, and 24 in the regional semifinal loss to DuVal.

* John Hilliard of Oakland Mills was the county'sbest three-point shooter and averaged 15 points per game.

The senior hit six of seven three-point attempts and scored 29 points, all of them in the second half, in Oakland Mills' come-from-behind win over Thomas Johnson.

* Jeff Slack averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the floor. In Glenelg's regional upset win over North Hagerstown the senior forward scored 24 points, hitting 10 of11 shots from the field, including three treys.

SECOND TEAM

* Mike Phillips of Oakland Mills played an important defensive role forthe Scorpions by guarding the other team's top offensive threat. He thereby sacrificed some of his considerable offensive ability. He averaged 11 points per game. Phillips led his team in scoring in each offour games combined against Mount Hebron and Hammond, two of the Scorpions' toughest opponents. He scored 24 and 23 against Hammond.

*Charlie Stewart of Centennial averaged 14.4 points, 9.5 rebounds andthree assists per game. Always hustling, the senior often fired up the Eagles at crucial times.

* Jim Zurad of Mount Hebron averaged 11.5 points and led the league with 12.0 rebounds per game.

The 6-foot-5 center was essential to the Vikings' successful 11-3 league season.

* Tony Yanero of Mount Hebron played the key point-guard position and averaged 11.1 points and 3.5 assists.

Yanero beat Atholton with a three-pointer at the buzzer, and sank four clutch free throws in overtime to preserve a regional playoff win over Hereford.

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