Bears to get early test transfers key to county repeat

December 07, 1993|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Defending county co-champion Hammond will be young. Coach Jack Burke could start four sophomores and a junior.

But they also will be talented and should be in the thick of the championship race.

Burke still is reeling a bit from the transfer of three would-be star starters, shooting guard Mike Matthews, center James Fehrman and point guard Kofi Kankam.

He had upgraded his schedule in anticipation of showcasing Fehrman and Matthews, and now he must play teams his young squad may not be ready to beat.

Those teams include Cardinal Gibbons, Woodlawn, Aberdeen, Edgewood and Southern-AA.

"We'll be competitive in the county but the rest of the schedule may make it tough for us to make the playoffs," Burke said. "We play four ranked teams and don't have a home game until Jan. 4."

The Bears, 15-9 overall and 10-4 in the league last season, have the potential to be 1-6 before heading into the league schedule.

The question will be whether the Bears will be able to break pressure defenses.

Sophomore Tim Spruil, an outstanding athlete, has inherited the point guard position and Burke hopes his quickness and athletic ability will be enough to compensate for his inexperience.

"He's worked really hard on his game in the off-season," Burke said.

If Spruil doesn't work out, the job would fall to 6-foot-2 sophomore Irving Conwell, the team's best shooter who averaged 8.2 points and shot 45 percent as a freshman. He also averaged 4.3 rebounds. Junior Alan Curry is another possibility at point guard.

Although Hammond lost three players to transfers, the Bears gained three.

The most important newcomer is 6-3 junior forward Devon Montoute, who played at Howard last season. Montoute is quick to the basket, strong, jumps well and is aggressive. He should be Hammond's best rebounder.

Another transfer is 6-5 sophomore center Phillip Mackey, from Parkdale High in Prince George's County. He's athletic and jumps well but is inexperienced.

The third transfer is Corey Breton, a 6-2 junior forward from Mount St. Joseph.

Joining Conwell, Montoute and Spruil as a certain starter is 6-3 sophomore forward Tom Salkeld.

Anthony Curry, a junior guard and Alan's twin brother, is a good shooter with three-point range.

David Broach, a 6-5 senior center is a potential starter who is smart around the basket. Ted Cruise is a 6-3 junior forward up from junior varsity. The team also includes seniors Tucker Peterson (guard) and Charles Chapman (forward) and 6-5 junior center Buck Posey.

Hammond, which lost to Hereford, 69-68, in overtime in the regional final last season, has made the playoffs seven of the past eight seasons and finished first or second in the county six of the last seven seasons.

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