Schedule puts top seed out of reach for Cavaliers

CARROLL SPORTS

March 01, 1995|By BILL FREE

Think about this.

The South Carroll girls basketball team wins 21 straight games to establish the best record (21-1) in the 28-year history of the school.

The 21 consecutive victories also are a school record.

That is the stuff top regional seeds are made of. Right?

Not in Carroll County.

The Class 3A South Carroll team did not play enough games against 3A and 4A schools to have a chance for the No. 1 seed in the 3A West region.

That position went to Montgomery County's Walt Whitman, which plays a steady diet of 3As and 4As.

Whitman defeated 3A Paint Branch Thursday night to get the top seed over South Carroll.

That means the second-seeded Cavaliers, who face either Wheaton or Paint Branch tomorrow in a regional semifinal, most likely will have to beat Whitman in Bethesda in the 3A West championship game to make it to the states.

This never should have happened.

South Carroll has a talented collection of athletes who are good enough to win against all comers. They even defeated Bishop Kearney of Brooklyn, N.Y., in a Christmas tournament at Frederick Community College.

This team deserved a chance to accumulate enough points to be top seed and have the home-court advantage throughout the regionals.

It might be several years before the Cavaliers are this strong again.

They should have been given every opportunity to win the school's first state girls basketball championship.

Teams receive eight points for a win over a 4A school, seven for beating a 3A opponent, six for a victory over a 2A foe, and five for a win over a 1A team.

Just a few more or even one more 3A or 4A school on the schedule would have been sufficient.

But it never happened.

South Carroll was locked into playing at least four games against 2A schools (two games each against Liberty and North Carroll). Those are Carroll County and Central Maryland Conference games.

However, the eight-game nonleague schedule for the Cavaliers was dominated by six games against 2A and 1A opponents.

South Carroll played 2A Damascus twice, and had single games with 2A Hammond, 2A Atholton, 2A Glenelg and 1A Wilde Lake.

The other two nonleague foes were Howard and Centennial, both 3A schools.

Why?

South Carroll athletic director Fred Baker said he refused to break up long-standing relationships with neighboring Howard County schools to "run down to Montgomery County just to get points for the tournament.

"We have great relationships with Glenelg, Atholton and Wilde Lake and usually those schools provide us with pretty tough competition," said Baker. "Howard County was a little down in girls basketball this year but that's no reason to drop them from the schedule. I think it's dumb to go around playing teams just to get points."

Baker said it will all be meaningless next year when all sports, except football, conduct open tournaments.

True.

But that might have been all the more reason for Baker to stick a couple more 3A or 4A teams on the girls' schedule this season.

Even if you throw out the two South Carroll Christmas tournament wins that don't count toward the regional point standings, the Cavaliers are 19-1 compared to Whitman's 18-1 record.

Right or wrong, Baker stuck by his guns and it will all be forgotten if South Carroll brings home that first state girls championship.

However, it is hard to forget that it was Walt Whitman that ended South Carroll's season last year in the regional semifinals at Whitman.

Key poised for title run

Now that the Francis Scott Key wrestling team clearly has established itself as Carroll County's best, it will try to capture the state 1A-2A tournament championship that was so elusive for North Carroll and now-retired coach Dick Bauerlein over the past several years.

The Eagles, under coach Bill Hyson, always have been a good tournament team and they have qualified 10 wrestlers for the states.

That is a good head start on a 1A-2A title.

Key put on an impressive show in the 1A-2A West Region at North Hagerstown Saturday, winning the team title with 150.5 points to 105 points for Northern-Garrett.

Randy Owings (31-1) won the 140-pound individual championship Saturday and will be shooting for a third state title this weekend at Western Maryland.

If Owings is successful, he will join his second cousin, Steve Hoff, as the only three-time state champions from Carroll County.

Other Key wrestlers who have qualified for the states are Zac Yinger (145, 30-0), Matt Yinger (112, 27-6), Ryan Etzler (119, 26-3), Jason Hooper (125), Steve Lessard (130), Tony Cahoon (135), Bobby Buntin (160), Bobby Bollinger (189) and John Frech (Hwy).

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