Every coach has his share of problems with his team. Towson Catholic's Mike Daniel is no exception.
During the past few seasons, he has had to deal with everything from midseason academic ineligibilities to small numbers on the bench. Nonetheless, he has kept the Owls com- petitive. One problem he never had was the lack of a point guard.
Until this season.
The graduation of second-team All-Metro pick Sydney Johnson (Fork Union Academy) left a void that wasn't filled in preseason practices. In baseball, there's a bullpen by committee. Daniel was left with a point guard by committee. In the Catholic League, which features some of the area's top guards, that option appeared to be doomed.
"I really didn't think we could pull it off," Daniel said. "I thought too many egos and too much inexperience would be a problem."
But Daniel, The Baltimore Sun's Baltimore County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, made it work. The Owls won the Catholic League tournament and the Maryland Scholastic Association Armstrong A League tournament.
After starting off at 7-8 overall and 2-3 in the Catholic League, Towson Catholic picked up momentum by winning 10 of its final 13 regular-season games to finish second to Loyola. Then, in a five-day stretch, the Owls won five games to win the Catholic and MSA League titles.
Towson Catholic had to face Loyola, a team it beat twice during that five-day marathon, in a playoff to decide which team would represent the Catholic League in this weekend's Alhambra Invitational at Frostburg State. The Owls won, 69-57.
"We knew it would work, but in time," said Butler, a senior. "Coach [Daniel] made us believe in the system, and eventually it paid off."
The "committee" consisted of Butler, who is suited as swingman or small forward; Reggie Rhinehart, a senior shooting guard; and Charles Harrison, a true point guard who didn't show signs of developing until late.
"We have won 23 games without a point guard," said Daniel, who has three Catholic League tournament titles to his credit. "The seniors deserve nothing but praise. Each player sacrificed a little bit, and they deserve the accolades."