Boys divisional setups could stand a little shuffling

SIDELINES

January 15, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

It's opening night in the Anne Arundel Friendship Division for boys basketball.

The season starts tonight for these six Friendship teams: Chesapeake at Annapolis, Meade at Severna Park, and Glen Burnie at Old Mill. This is what they have been getting ready for. This is the season -- the Friendship Division games.

Of course, I'm joking, but I do have an idea.

The seven teams in the Bay Division for county teams have played three games, but the six clubs in the Friendship Division have yet to play.

How many of you knew that? Some of the coaches aren't even aware of it. Some of them don't give any thought to the so-called Bay and Friendship divisions for basketball.

After Arundel's stunning 76-74 upset of fourth-ranked Annapolis on Tuesday, Wildcats coach Gerald Moore wasn't sure which of the two divisions he was in -- ditto for Annapolis coach John Brady.

Moore thought he was in the Chesapeake Division but is actually in the Bay.

When asked the name of his division and the one Arundel was in, Brady said, "I think we're in the Bay . . . I don't know, maybe it's the, um, . . . Friendly Division."

Annapolis is in the Friendship.

Since this Bay-Friendship Division stuff was created a couple years ago to group the larger schools together, the Class 4A coaches haven't paid much attention to it. The bottom line is their overall record (holiday tournament games excluded) and standing in Class 4A, Region IV.

Arundel, Broadneck, Northeast, North County, Queen Anne's (of the Eastern Shore), Southern and South River make up the Bay Division, and Annapolis, Chesapeake, Glen Burnie, Meade, Old Mill and Severna Park comprise the Friendship.

All the teams in the Friendship Division are Class 4A, and Arundel, Broadneck, North County and Queen Anne's are the only 4A schools in the Bay.

In the past, the county 4A teams played each other twice (home and home) each season, but now with this Bay-Friendship setup, it doesn't happen. Broadneck is the only Bay team to play perennial county champion Annapolis (6-2) twice.

Brady joked after losing to Arundel (7-3) for the first time in his 16-year tenure and the school's first loss to the Wildcats since 1975, "It's a shame they only get to play us once or they might have two wins."

Thanks to the Bay and Friendship divisions, there will be no rematch unless the teams clash in the 4A Region playoffs in March.

County officials and the architect of the divisions, Paul Rusko, the former coordinator of physical education, won't admit it, but I believe this was all done to accommodate Queen Anne's. And really, why should Anne Arundel County care about Queen Anne's scheduling problems?

Five of the nine Class 4A schools (Annapolis, Chesapeake, Meade, Old Mill and Severna Park) chose not to schedule Queen Anne's this season.

If they didn't have the Lions to worry about, the 4A schools could play each other home and home, as they used to.

Let's look to next year, and I have a few interesting suggestions. With Broadneck moving down to Class 3A and South River from 3A to 2A joining Northeast and Southern, there is a league right there.

Forget the Bay and Friendship divisions and let's call them the Paul Rusko 4A League and the Jean Boyd 3A-2A League in honor of the two former coordinators.

Now, let's break it down, excluding Queen Anne's from the league and making the Lions an option to schedule as a non-league foe, and keeping in mind that the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association permits a maximum 22 games.

The Rusko 4A League would have eight teams, and they would play each other home and home for 14 games and each of the four Boyd 3A-2A clubs once for a total of 18 games. Add two holiday tournament games and two non-county foes (or you could make it a home and home with one of the 3A-2A schools) and you've got 22.

Moving right along to the Boyd 3A-2A, consisting of Broadneck, Northeast, Southern and South River, those four could play home and home for six games and add one game with each of the eight county 4A teams, and that's 14 games. Tacking on two holiday games and the total is up to 16.

That would give the four smaller schools the chance to schedule outside opponents or fewer games. Teams don't have to play 22 games. The playoff points average for postseason is determined by dividing points by total number of games.

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