Teams get into holiday spirit with tournament action

December 28, 1992|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

What would the holidays be without high school basketbal tournaments?

Two county teams -- the North Carroll girls and Liberty boys -- will be trying to defend tournament titles, while the Westminster boys tournament is going back to the traditional championship-round event after going with a round-robin format last season.

In the North Carroll Holiday Tournament, the host girls team, 5-0 for the season and ranked ninth in The Baltimore Sun's Top 20 metro poll, had little trouble winning its tournament last year.

After defeating Franklin, 73-35, in the tournament opener, North Carroll beat Centennial, 62-47, in the finals.

North Carroll coach Greg Knill is looking for similar results this year.

"It's a chance to work on some things and play ball over the holidays," he said. "We'd like to come out of it healthy and sharp for January and the rest of the season."

Knill said senior co-captain Francine Hewes has been ill and junior forward Casey Rhoten has had back problems, but both are minor problems.

The Panthers are led by senior forward Michele Jeffery, who is averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds this season. In last year's final, she had a game-high 19 points.

The Panthers will meet Franklin in the first round at 6 p.m. tomorrow. Fallston and Centennial meet at 2 p.m. in the other opening-round contest.

Centennial captured the boys championship last year and again comes in as the favorite, ranked 16th in the area at 5-1.

For the North Carroll boys, under first-year coach Troy Warehime, the tournament is a chance to continue recovering from a slow start. The Panthers lost their first four, but have since beaten Catoctin twice.

"I think the kids learned a little bit about winning over the last two games and hopefully we can carry that into the tournament," Warehime said.

"We're playing better and particularly shooting the ball a lot better and that's the key with a small and young team. If we shoot poorly, there's no doubt we're going to be hurting.

"We always look forward to the holiday tournament. It's just a fun thing and anything can happen."

The Panthers lost twice in overtime in last year's tournament, including a 92-84 setback against Fallston in the consolation game.

Fallston and Centennial will get the boys started at 4 p.m. tomorrow. North Carroll and Franklin tip off at 8.

The losers of the two girls games will meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the consolation. The boys consolation will follow at 4. with the girls and boys finals at 6 and 8, respectively.

In the Liberty Belle Holiday Tournament, a banged-up Liberty boys squad (2-4) comes in as the defending tournament champion. Mike Davidson hit two free throws last year in the closing seconds to beat Glenelg, 79-78.

The senior forward led the county in scoring last year and is leading again this season at 18 points per game. He is one of several Lions who have missed time this season due to injury. He's expected to return from an ankle injury after missing two games.

Also due back is senior point guard Ross Yastrzemsky, who was out last week with the flu and a nagging foot injury.

"You're talking around 40 points gone when they're out of the lineup, with Mike averaging almost 20 to go along with Ross' 15 and five assists a game," said Liberty coach Scott Kohr. "They also bring a lot of experience and are intelligent with the basketball."

In boys first-round pairings tomorrow, Howard and Glenelg meet at 3 p.m. and Liberty and Bel Air play at 7.

It sets the stage for a possible championship game between Liberty and Howard. Howard beat visiting Liberty, 90-57, in the second game of this season.

"The kids say they are looking forward to getting another shot against Howard. We just didn't handle their pressure well and they out-rebounded us," Kohr said.

The 15th-ranked Howard girls (3-2) return as the tournament champion. Joining them and host Liberty will be City and tournament newcomer Magruder.

After a 3-0 start, Liberty has dropped its last two. Coach Tom Delise is concerned with the lack of offensive support for senior Amy Wolff, who's averaging just under 20 points.

Senior Dani Fostik is doing her share, averaging eight points a game and 11 rebounds, but there's been little else.

"There's a lot of pride involved in winning our own tournament," Delise said. "We've got to beat City first and from what I understand, they're a much improved team from last year.

"It also gives us a chance to get ready for the conference and county portion of our schedule. From here on out, there are no easy games left."

Magruder and Howard open the tournament at 1 p.m. today. Liberty will then face City at 5.

The consolation round begins tomorrow with the girls game at 1. Girls championship play begins at 5; the boys final is at 7.

The purpose of last year's round-robin format in the Westminster Boys Holiday Tournament was to get more county games for Francis Scott Key. But when South Carroll bowed out of the tournament this year, the championship format was brought back.

The only game of any tournament this year pitting county rivals will take place in the first round when Key takes on Westminster. Aberdeen and Linganore are the other teams featured.

Westminster coach Dave Byers has a lot of respect for Key.

"Key has a lot of experienced kids back capable of playing some good basketball," he said.

"The county rivalry aspect really adds to all that. You can expect a pretty good game."

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