Gophers' Bogle was right: Class 4A race wide open

SIDELINES

December 17, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

Glen Burnie coach Terry Bogle was right when he said before the Class 4A high school boys basketball season started that "the league should be fairly well-balanced again."

He appears to be a prophet, and Anne Arundel County fans could be in for an exciting, season like last winter.

No. 15 Arundel (3-0) is the only Class 4A team without a blemish on its record.

Generally, there are three or four clubs unbeaten at this early stage.

Although several coaches pointed to Annapolis as the team to beat and Old Mill coach Paul Bunting went so far as to say that "Annapolis is head and shoulders above everybody else," Bogle sees it differently.

If early results are any indication, Bogle, who is in his 27th season at Glen Burnie, knows what he is talking about. The No. 18 Gophers (1-1), who visit North County (1-1) at 7 tonight, upset then-No. 4 Annapolis, 92-81, in its season opener.

Although delighted with the opening victory, Bogle didn't celebrate too long after the game before turning his attention to the next game, a visit to defending 4A region champion Meade on Tuesday.

"It's a long season and I'm worried about going to Meade Tuesday," said Bogle, moments after the win over Annapolis.

Why worry? Everybody had been saying that Meade was going to be down after its 21-5 and state 4A runner-up campaign in 1992-93.

Meade coach Butch Young, in his 27th year as a head coach, has a reputation for playing down his teams in preseason and then sneaking up on everybody.

And when Young's Mustangs opened last week with lopsided losses at Suitland in Prince George's County (86-38) and No. 15 Arundel (89-61), most thought that for once Young wasn't fooling.

Young had expressed his concern about a thigh injury that had kept his best player, Tyrone "Sticks" Jones from practicing and said, "We're in trouble without Sticks."

Jones didn't play at Suitland, but did at Arundel, scoring 15 points. On Tuesday he scored 19 points as Meade edged Glen Burnie, 54-53.

Bogle learned a long time ago that you never take a Young-coached team for granted and despite what he was hearing, he was leery of his trip to Meade. He was right.

Meanwhile, No. 10 Annapolis (2-1) bounced back from the Glen Burnie loss to take an 84-71 win over Old Mill (1-1). Despite the loss, it's obvious Bunting has some talent at Old Mill. The Patriots will be a team to be reckoned with as the season grows old.

Annapolis coach John Brady said before Tuesday's meeting with Old Mill that "Bunting set us up with that stuff that we're head and shoulders above everybody else.

"I don't know that Glen Burnie's win over us was really an upset. They've got a pretty good team and Bogle does a good job coaching them."

Brady's Panthers weren't head and shoulders better than Old Mill either, especially at the foul line, where they sank only 11 of 29 free throws. That's 38 percent and that doesn't win championships.

Annapolis won because of its depth, defense and the return of Juan "J. J." Johnson in the backcourt. Johnson missed the Glen Burnie game, but played a key role in the Old Mill game.

Johnson and Teshawn Cooper both are quick as the Panther point guards and when they spell each other, those fresh legs are tough to keep up with. And when Brady uses both of them at the same time, it really wreaks havoc on an opponent as it did against Old Mill, forcing several turnovers.

Johnson adds offensive punch as evidenced by his 14 points Tuesday, and that frees up a potential big scorer like guard Kelsey Watkins. Watkins had 46 points in his first two games, but had only 10 against Old Mill because he was on a special assignment.

It was Watkins' job to deny Old Mill's three-point threat, Andrew Lewis, the basketball. With Watkins following him everywhere but to the Patriots' bench, Lewis scored only five points.

Old Mill visits Meade tonight and Annapolis plays host to inexperienced Severna Park (1-2). The Falcons won Tuesday by 49-47 over Chesapeake (0-3) in double-overtime with freshman Todd Poorman sinking two free throws to win it.

Arundel had all it could handle at North County (1-1) Tuesday before pulling out a 76-71 win over the Knights. After three straight losing seasons, North County is no longer a pushover, and you know Bogle is concerned especially after a loss.

OC It's all part of a well-balanced league that Bogle promised us.

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