Kazmarek, Bruins back on schedule Optimism returns with end of skid

January 12, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Broadneck coach Ken Kazmarek is a firm believer that the tougher the non-league schedule the better the club will be when it gets to the county schedule.

Kazmarek was all smiles Friday night after his Bruins (5-3) snapped a three-game losing streak with a well balanced 66-40 romp at Severna Park (4-4) in county boys' basketball. It was a feeling of euphoria after surviving the team's annual "crash course."

All three Bruins losses had come at the hands of ranked teams, including an 11-point loss (64-53) to fourth-ranked Annapolis (6-1). The other losses were to No. 8 Woodlawn (10-0) and No. 10 Loyola (10-5) in the Wes Unseld Tournament.

It was only the second time in Kazmarek's nine-year tenure at the Cape St. Claire school that his team had dropped three in a row.

"My first year (13-11) we lost three in a row, so it's been awhile," said Kazmarek after the win over Severna Park.

His willingness to take on tough competition and risk a couple early losses has paid dividends. For the last six years, the Bruins have played in the highly competitive Wes Unseld Classic at Catonsville Community College against teams from the MSA A Conference, Baltimore Catholic League and Baltimore County power Woodlawn.

Until last year, the Bruins owned the Unseld tournament and it showed in their county play. Broadneck won the first Unseld Classic in 1987 and claimed four titles in a row before finishing in third place last year and going 1-2 this season.

During the Unseld championship run -- a 3-0 sweep each of the four title years -- the Bruins were 81-16 on their overall schedule. Broadneck was a Class 4A, Region IV finalist three of the last four Unseld title years but lost in the first round last season.

During its six seasons in the Unseld, the Bruins have gone 15-3 overall and the showing has been reflected by a string of eight straight winning campaigns under Kazmarek.

"Even before we got into the Unseld Tournament, we played in John's [Brady of Annapolis, host of the Capital City Classic] holiday tournament and that kind of competition gets us ready for our county schedule," said Kazmarek, whose career coaching record is 156-68, including an 11-12 log at Arundel in 1983-84.

Arundel made the playoffs that year with an 11-11 record and lost its first game in postseason play.

Every Kazmarek-coached team has qualified for the playoffs and the coach has averaged 16.7 wins a season, second only among active coaches to Annapolis' Brady (318-54 starting this year), who has averaged 21.2 wins per year over 15 years.

The coach will be the first to tell you that it's that "toughening up" in the pre-league schedule that makes the Bruins competitive each year. It's something he learned playing under the late Dick Hart (330-294 in 30 years) at Andover and as an assistant to Brady at Annapolis.

"I think it has showed already this year because a big factor in coming into Severna Park was the competition in the Unseld Tournament," said Kazmarek, whose team defeated Hammond (2-4) of Howard County, 60-56, to start the Unseld and then dropped 55-49 and 52-45 decisions to eventual champion Woodlawn and third-place Loyola, respectively.

"Annapolis was our first game [Jan. 5] after the Unseld and even though we lost, we played well. We just broke down a little bit in the second half and they wore us down. They played 10 guys and we played seven and you have to be consistent against them for all four quarters."

Kazmarek admits to being concerned following the Annapolis loss as to how his team would react in practice the next day.

"We had an incredible practice Wednesday," said Kazmarek. "I was worried where our minds would be going into Severna Park with three losses in a row, but after Wednesday's practice, I wasn't worried anymore."

Coaches will tell you that what happens in practice doesn't necessarily indicate what will happen in the game in terms of execution. Sometimes a great practice can result in a disaster come game time, or vice versa.

In the first period against Severna Park, the Bruins appeared to have the attitude and intensity of a winner.

They came out and hit six of their first 12 shots from the floor and went on a 13-0 run from the final minute of the first period through the first two and a half minutes of the second period.

By halftime, Broadneck was in command, 40-24, and on the way to a win.

Kazmarek was ecstatic with the balance his team showed, especially the inside men, 6-foot-4 senior Mike Goch (20 points, six boards), 6-5 junior Sean Ryan (nine points, 10 rebounds) and unheralded 6-3 Bill Kupina (four points, six boards).

The coach is hoping that the Severna Park victory -- after the crash course in the Unseld -- will start his Bruins on a long winning streak beginning with tonight's 7 p.m. home encounter with Chesapeake (4-4).

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