John Carroll puts itself to test Tough games loom after fast start

January 17, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

About the time John Carroll thought the parts of its boys basketball puzzle were falling into place, the team ran into a buzzsaw.

The Patriots, featuring senior leaders Myron Cole and Mark Heimerl, had shown steady improvement. There were seven wins in a row, and an 11-3 record included two one-point and two two-point wins.

There was optimism about being able to play with conference-leading Severn (16-1, 9-0), but the Severna Park school showed up last week and put a damper on that enthusiasm. Neither team played well for the first 20 minutes, and, finally, Severn stepped up, breaking away from a six-point lead to produce a 61-44 win.

Cole, a three-year starter from Aberdeen, reached his season averages with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but most of his work came in the second half after the game started to slip away. A poor shooting night kept Heimerl, a double-figure scorer on the season, from being a factor.

Now, John Carroll must take stock and see if it is good enough to compete with the top teams in the B Division of the Armstrong Conference. It should find out in a hurry, for the team's next opponent is Boys' Latin (Wednesday in Bel Air). The Lakers turned the first meeting into a runaway 82-63 triumph.

Successive games against two of the top teams in the conference come at a time when the players are involved with the mental aspects of their games. It is a procedure coach Pat Goles, a part of the John Carroll scene for 25 years, has used before.

"I like to sit down with each player for a midseason evaluation," he said. "We go over the individual strengths and the areas that need work, and then the players put their thoughts in writing for me.

"It's been a rewarding experience, because you see the players start to assume some responsibility. They start looking in the mirror and in the process become better players and better people.

"The players understand they have a responsibility to each other, so if four are working and one is not, the one is going to hear about it."

Cole and Heimerl got slow starts in December, as each was coming off a fall-sport injury. Cole, a running back, tore knee ligaments and missed most of the football season. Heimerl had a thigh injury in one leg during the soccer season and one in the other leg in preseason basketball practice.

In addition, each finds himself in a different situation than a year ago.

"Last year, I felt I had to score for us to do well, but this time there are others to help," said Cole, who averaged 18.9 points and 11.3 rebounds for last year's 12-12 team.

Heimerl said: "We usually have three or four [scoring] in double figures, and when one or two do it, it gives the others confidence. Coach has instilled that in us -- you have to have confidence."

The 6-foot-1 forward from Havre de Grace had that in two Christmas tournament games, when he scored 41 -- with six three-pointers -- in wins over Loch Raven and Dulaney. Although the senior standouts are offensive threats, each is more active on defense. "I'd rather play defense," said Cole.

Heimerl said: "I'm usually of an offensive mind-set, but a lot of what I do is based on good defense. Good defensive plays motivate the others and that makes it easier at the offensive end."

Or, as Goles said, "The big thing for this team is its desire and enthusiasm for defense. We attempt to dictate the tempo with our defense and to score off transition. We're not that good individually, so we have to play within the framework of what we can do."

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