Victory over Annapolis boosts North County's playoff hopes


February 02, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

North County (10-6) posted its biggest boys basketball victory in the six-year school history by 82-69 over No. 4 Annapolis (13-2) in overtime Wednesday and appears on the way to its second straight winning season.

It's the team coach Brad Wilson has been waiting for, and it finally arrived by beating the team that has set a standard of excellence for over two decades in Anne Arundel County.

North County has emerged as a serious contender in the 4A East Region with defending champion Arundel, Annapolis, Glen Burnie and Northern of Calvert County.

"We started to doubt each other when we lost a few games in the final moments awhile back, but last week we beat Arundel by one at the buzzer and we came into tonight [Wednesday] with a lot of confidence," said Wilson after the Annapolis victory.

"This is by far our biggest win and you could say all the hard work is paying off. I feel especially good for the seniors who have been through the hard times."

It could be bad news for opponents that swing man Reece Bowie, guard Cornelius Burley and center Chris Salmon are the only seniors with everyone else a junior.

The team is loaded with perimeter shooters and the 6-foot-1 Bowie, 6-7 Salmon, 6-3 Randolph Rooks and 6-4 Richard Allen are very tough inside.

Annapolis got a dose of the Knights' shooting as the victors unloaded seven three-pointers while hitting 26 of 53 shots (49 percent). Derek Booth buried a trio of the threes, including two straight to ignite an 18-5 run in overtime.

Burley and Sean Brown each had a pair of three-pointers.

Wilson recently moved Burley from shooting guard to point guard and the result is a team taking better care of the basketball.

"Cornelius accepted the change and has become our floor leader," said Wilson. "We've become a better team."

The Knights have become good enough to vie for the county championship, sitting in second place at 8-3 in the North Division, a half-game behind No. 20 Glen Burnie (12-3, 8-2). The North Division winner meets the South winner for the county championship.

No. 10 Broadneck (11-4) leads the South at 9-1 followed by Annapolis at 8-2 and No. 16 Arundel (11-5) at 8-3. Annapolis visits Glen Burnie Wednesday in a make-up.

While North County is at struggling Meade (8-9, 5-6) tonight, Annapolis travels to Arundel, and Broadneck visits No. 19 Southern (10-6, 7-4 in South).

Free throws

North County survived the season's most spectacular effort by 6-7 junior Boo Diggs in its big win over Annapolis. Diggs had game-high totals of 34 points, 21 rebounds (11 defensive), and four blocked shots in a losing cause.

* Arundel coach Gerald Moore said after his Wildcats' 51-50 loss at Glen Burnie on Tuesday that his team really missed graduated All-County guards Bakari Ward and Kevin Higgins.

"We had two go-to guys last year in Bakari and Kevin, and don't have one this year," he said. "But that comes with having basically a brand-new team."

Higgins is playing at Anne Arundel Community College and Ward at Goucher College.

* Southern had its five-game winning streak snapped by Old Mill, 50-48, Wednesday as Joe Barnes scored 19 points for the victors. Several county coaches are calling Old Mill (5-6 in North) "the best 7- 10 team in the metro area." Old Mill could be a dangerous team in the 4A East playoffs.

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