How a snowy day could call off Old Mill's playoff hopes

SIDELINES

February 26, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

When have you ever heard of a group of boys not wanting snow so that schools won't be closed?

Mark this one down: The Old Mill boys basketball team is hoping school is open today. What's wrong with those guys, you ask? It's simple.

Today's weather could decide whether the Patriots get a chance to defend their Class 4A Region IV title.

It also could affect the second and third seeds for the regional set to start Monday. The advantage of being one of the top two seeds is a first-round bye and home-court advantage in the semis.

One thing is certain: The winner of last night's Glen Burnie at Meade game takes the top seed, and the loser could be seeded two or three depending on the weather.

Teams are awarded points for a win based on the size of a school -- eight points for a win over a 4A, 7 for 3A, 6 for 2A and 5 for 1A -- and the total number of playoff points accumulated are divided by the total number of games for playoff points average.

Got that? OK, let's move on and get to the tough part.

Games are off when school is closed because of inclement weather, and if Old Mill (11-8) doesn't get to play its final regular-season game at Chesapeake (7-14) tonight or tomorrow, its season is history.

Six teams qualify for the playoffs in each region, and the Pats, despite having more playoff points (81), currently are seventh in Region IV behind Edmondson (75).

Christmas tournament games do not count, so Edmondson (12-8 overall) is 10-7 in terms of the playoff qualification. My calculator says Edmondson's playoff points average (17 into 75) is 4.41.

Old Mill stands at 4.26 with 19 games and 81 points. All the Pats' games count because they did not play in a holiday tournament. By winning their final game over Chesapeake, the Pats would have 89 points over 20 games, an average of 4.45, and they would be in.

Of course, if the Cougars upset Old Mill, it's over for the Pats.

"If the weather doesn't allow them to play Friday [today], Saturday [tomorrow] is a playable day," said Ned Sparks, executive secretary of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

Old Mill athletic director Jim Dillon says plans already have been made with Chesapeake to play the girls game between the schools (which has no bearing on the playoffs) at 11 a.m. and the boys at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

Coach Paul Bunting's Patriots have won five of their past six games, and six of their past eight and are hoping for an encore of their 1991-92 Cinderella finish. Old Mill was the unexpected winner of 4A Region IV as the fifth seed.

It meant winning three tough games on the road (Broadneck, Annapolis and Meade), and that's exactly what they did. A repeat of such drama is not out of the picture, because if the Patriots get there, they will have as much of a chance as any of the other five teams.

"I don't think it really matters where you are seeded this year, because of the balance," said Annapolis coach John Brady, whose team is in a bit of a quandary as well.

If Annapolis (109 points going into tonight's game) wins at Severna Park (5-16, eight consecutive losses) or does not play the game, the Panthers would clinch the No. 2 seed.

Going into last night's showdown with Glen Burnie, Meade led the region with 114 points, and the Gophers were runner-up with 112. By not playing, Annapolis takes the second seed with an average of 5.73 (19 games, 109 points). That's because a Glen Burnie loss leaves the Gophers at 5.6 (20-112, Meade would take top seed) and a Meade loss would give the Mustangs a 5.70 average (20-114, Glen Burnie first).

"We will do whatever it takes to try and play the necessary games Saturday if they can't play Friday," said Glen Burnie coach Terry Bogle, who is the Region IV chairman.

Why can't they just delay the playoffs to make sure all the games are played?

"It's rare that we have a lot of snow to put us in this situation," Sparks said. "The coaches don't like to sit around waiting to play, and that's why we end the season Friday and start the playoffs Monday.

"We've got some coaches who complain about the bye and would rather play three games."

Old Mill hopes to get to play just one game at this point.

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