New gym could cost Broadneck its unique home-court advantage

SIDELINES

January 21, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Broadneck is losing what might be the county's only true home-court advantage, other than Southern of Harwood.

The Bruins are building a new gym because they outgrew their current one as soon as it was constructed. The new gym will be large like most other county gyms.

Broadneck's current gym and atmosphere is unique. It was made to order for the Bruins' half-court style of play. Most of the fans feel like they're sitting right on the court because of the close proximity of the stands.

Players going out of bounds can count on landing in somebody's lap at Broadneck where you can truly reach out and touch someone.

And that Bruin pep band of Sandy Balderson can be loud in creating a college atmosphere unlike any other in the county.

You also can hear much of the banter between players, coaches and referees.

But a big change is in the offing. The new gym, scheduled to be ready in a year or so is being designed after the huge arena at Arundel High.

"Yeah, I guess we might be losing our home-court advantage, that's what everybody around here is saying, but I have no choice but to build a bigger gym," said Broadneck coach and athletic director Ken Kazmarek.

Kazmarek has worked closely with Arundel athletic director Bernie Walter in designing the Bruins' new digs. Arundel went from the dark ages where it played in the dark in a chapel-like environment to the more wide-open spaces.

Playing dimensions are the same as all other county floors, but the visual and audio atmosphere at Broadneck make it seem smaller and results in slower play.

Just Thursday night, No. 6 Broadneck (7-3) took very athletic and talented North County (6-5) out of its game to post a 61-51 victory.

Coming off a 91-86 victory at No. 7 Annapolis (10-2), No. 15 Arundel (8-3) invaded Broadneck on Jan. 5 and left a 64-47 loser to the Bruins. Arundel was not the same team Friday that it was Thursday in upsetting Annapolis.

And that's precisely what that little old gym can do to good teams. I'm convinced the Bruin gym affects opponents mentally and it will be interesting to see what the future holds.

Kazmarek will experience bitter-sweet emotions when his Bruins close home sweet home for the new digs. There are rumors that he and assistant athletic director Tim McMullen won't condemn the old gym and keep it ready as an ace in the hole for certain games.

Free throws

With Anne Arundel County teams playing three games in a row before Friday's postponements, Northern of Calvert County head coach Rick Weber got a chance to scout North County at Broadneck Thursday. Northern could see the Knights down the road in the 4A East region playoffs.

* Under Board of Education policy, games are not allowed to be played the night before exams, so the county canceled Friday's vo-tech exams.

Signs of spring

Arundel's Tim Giles, The Sun's 1993 All-Metro Baseball Player of the Year, is the preseason Player of the Year in the Big South Conference and likely top pick in the June free agent draft according to Baseball America. Giles is a junior first baseman at UNC Greensboro where he hit .327 with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs last year.

Also among the Big South players to watch Baseball America says is 1992 Severna Park All-Metro infielder Rob McCandless. McCandless, a third baseman at Radford College (Va.), hit .311 with five homers and 31 RBIs for the Highlanders last year.

* Pasadena resident Steve Matcuk, a right-handed pitcher from Mount St. Joseph who is expected to go in the June draft, transferred from South Carolina Aiken to Indian River (Fla.) Community College and made Baseball America's preseason list of Top 25 junior college players.

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