No. 10 Severn School's boys basketball coaches have swapped positions. Wayne Fowler has stepped down as head coach after two seasons and Charles "Tank" Duckett, his top assistant and close friend, is the new head coach.
"I will continue to be involved in the program as Tank's assistant," said Fowler, who was 48-11 (.813 percentage) in two years, including a 25-8 overall record this season.
"It's time to turn it over to him and I will help as much as I can."
Under Fowler, Severn moved up to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and played an ambitious schedule that included No. 1 Lake Clifton and one of the top three teams in the D.C. area in Laurel Baptist.
Nearly 10 years ago, Fowler got involved coaching basketball in the Severna Park area with Ed Wilson and ultimately became an assistant to Jim Doyle at Severn. Fowler succeeded Doyle as the Admiral coach.
Arundel, Broadneck respected
Both Anne Arundel County boys basketball teams were eliminated in the state tournament Thursday at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House, but both schools left a positive impression.
No. 7 Broadneck (22-3) dropped a 46-44 heart-breaker to Thomas Johnson of Frederick County in the Class 3A semis, and a couple hours later No. 4 Arundel (21-4) was whipped, 87-70, by Lake Clifton in the Class 4A tournament.
Arundel and Broadneck played hard and clean, and each school had a large contingent of fans who made their presence known at College Park.
Broadneck's spring sports coaches canceled practice and took their entire teams to the state playoffs to root on the Bruins.
"Kenny [Kazmarek, head basketball coach and athletic director] and I want to go ahead and publicly express our appreciation for the support we got from our coaches and players, which made for a great atmosphere," said assistant athletic director Tim McMullen.
It did make for a great atmosphere as the Bruins fans on one side of Cole facing the teams tried to out-cheer the Patriot fans on the other side. High school spirit spilled over on both sides and it got better as the game went down to the wire.
Thomas Johnson won the game, but the Bruins' hot pep band gave them the edge in revelry.
Many Arundel fans, parents and the Arundel girls team ran from UMBC down to College Park to root for the boys after the NTC Wildcats girls posted a 40-32 win over Montgomery Blair in the 4A states.
A sea of green-and-white-clad fans and signs spelling the school name created a spirited atmosphere for the Arundel boys as they took on powerful Lake Clifton.
Final four notes
Few high school athletes possess the extraordinary composure of Broadneck's Jason Smith.
Smith, a four-year starter for the Bruins, waited his entire high school career for Thursday's big moment. After his potential game-winning shot was blocked by Thomas Johnson's Terence Morris with two seconds left, Smith gave credit where it was due and life goes on.
"If we had more time on the clock, I think we could have pulled it off," said Smith, who never missed a football or basketball game in four years.
"This was our best season, and yes, I'm going to miss it here."
Smith is headed to Rutgers on a Division I football scholarship. He and Kazmarek have not ruled out his playing basketball at Rutgers.
Kazmarek thanked Smith and the rest of the team afterward.
"I thanked them for the most pleasurable year I have ever had as a coach," said Kazmarek. "And I congratulated them on being the best team to ever play at Broadneck."
Arundel had nothing to be ashamed of either in losing to the metro area's top team. All season long, coach Gerald Moore's Wildcats always got it done no matter what the situation.
The Wildcats made a habit of falling behind and coming back to win with a big play by the likes of Bakari Ward or Kevin Higgins.
After losing in the fourth game of the season by 68-44 to Broadneck, the Wildcats went on to win four games by three points or less, including a 68-67 thriller over Broadneck on Ward's 50-footer at the buzzer.
Arundel won two by six or less, including an 83-77 overtime defeat of Calvert in the 4A East semifinals. Its only other losses were by 62-58 to Largo and 78-74 to Annapolis.
Down 15 at the half Thursday, the Wildcats didn't quit, but every run in the second half was matched by the Lakers, who have too much firepower for most teams.
Arundel got hot in the final period, but only traded baskets with Lake Clifton in what was a 27-27 draw the final eight minutes.
No matter how you look at it, this Arundel team accomplished a lot. After all, it had been 20 years since Arundel made it to Cole.
Moore and his staff of Brian Brown, Chet Lipton and Jay Cotrell should be proud.