Basketball ties to be broken tonight

SIDELINES

January 27, 1995|By PAT O'MALLEY

Exams aside in the classrooms, it's back to the gym in Anne Arundel County where the big tests on the court will be taken.

Tonight, the three-way ties for first in the 4A boys and girls leagues will be broken. More importantly, top seedings are at stake, something that will be nonexistent next year with the advent of the open tournament and its blind draw.

No. 11 Annapolis (10-3 overall) actually leads the 4A boys league by a half-game at 7-1, but has a nonleague game at home against 2A Southern (4-9). No. 13 Arundel (10-3) plays host to No. 17 Old Mill (9-4) at 5:15 p.m. Arundel is 5-1 in 4A league; Old Mill is 6-1.

Arundel and Old Mill also have a big girls game at 7 p.m. Host and No. 5 Old Mill (11-2) leads by a half-game at 7-0 over No. 10 Arundel (13-0) and No. 6 Severna Park (12-1), both 6-0 in league play. While Arundel and Old Mill battle, Severna Park visits Glen Burnie (3-10).

Arundel and Old Mill are meeting for the first time with Game 2 set for Feb. 21 at Arundel, the next-to-last game of the regular season.

On the boys side, Arundel is coming off a 78-74 loss to defending county champion Annapolis. The game is the first of a string of four consecutive tough games for the Wildcats, three of them on the road.

Arundel will play host to Glen Burnie (7-6, 3-4) Tuesday, and travel to Class 3A and No. 7 Broadneck (11-1) next Friday and then to much-improved North County (7-6, 4-4) on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Defending 4A East Region champion Glen Burnie is fighting for one of the six playoff spots and Tuesday's game will be the first meeting with Arundel and Marquise Farmer.

Farmer, who is averaging 13.3 points and 11.7 rebounds for the Wildcats, was an All-County performer who led Glen Burnie to College Park and the Final Four before transferring to Arundel.

Broadneck did a number on the Wildcats on Dec. 19, rolling to a 68-44 victory in Gambrills. The Bruins' Eric Elston and Johnny Williams limited Arundel's Bakari Ward to his lowest output of the season, 13 points. Ward leads the county public schools in scoring with a 22.6 average.

North County is attempting to post its first winning season in its five-year existence and an upset over Arundel would go a long way to accomplishing that feat.

The Knights played the Wildcats tough on Dec. 13 before bowing, 88-80, and they boast a balanced attack with three players among the leading scorers -- juniors Cornelius Burley (12.2) and Maurice Bowie (11.3) and sophomore Richard Allen (11.5).

With top seedings and home-court advantages to be decided, every regular-season game is important, especially in the 4A East Region, which includes the Anne Arundel County teams.

Northern (10-2) of Calvert County and Queen Anne's (10-1) are also in the region and could steal playoff berths from Anne Arundel teams. Northern has only one loss that counts, the other coming in a Christmas tournament.

The girls game between Arundel and Old Mill also promises to be a great one.

Junior Chavonne Hammond paces Lee Rogers' Wildcats with 17.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per outing. I would tell you who leads Old Mill but coach Pat Chance doesn't report stats.

Severna Park should have little trouble with Glen Burnie. Later tonight the Falcons of coach Kevin McGrath should be tied for first with the Arundel/Old Mill winner. The Falcons, led by Angela DeSalvo (17.6 points per game) and Jennifer Holmes (13.8 points, county-leading 17.4 rebounds), do not face Arundel and Old Mill until the final five games of the season.

The Falcons' season will be on the line in their season-ending grind. Severna Park was the 4A East Region runner-up to Annapolis (5-8). The Panthers are very young and graduated their top players from last year's 19-7 state semifinalist.

In the girls 4A East Region, there are no noncounty teams in the running for the top two seeds, which leads to a bye in the first round and home-court advantage in the region semis. Barring total collapses, Arundel, Old Mill and Severna Park will take the top three seeds. Only the order of 1-2-3 remains in doubt.

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