'Practice' likely to cost Hebron baseball

Howard Sports

February 22, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

First, Mount Hebron's girls basketball team was forced to forfeit two games on Feb. 2 for conducting three illegal in-season practices.

Now, the Vikings' baseball team expects to forfeit its first game because of one illegal out-of-season practice.

The Rules and Infractions Committee composed of Wilde Lake principal Bonnie Daniel, Atholton athletic director Don Van Deusen and Centennial baseball coach Ron Martin, will meet at 7:30 this morning to hear the facts and render a decision, which will be forwarded to Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, for his approval. He can modify it.

It is alleged that Mount Hebron baseball coach Pat Crouse attended an open gym session with his players on Feb. 9. That is considered a violation of a state rule.

"The intent of the out-of-season practice rule should prevent people from having an open gym," Mount Hebron principal Adrian Kaufman said. "We expect to forfeit a game, and our TC coach will receive a letter of censure."

The infraction was first reported to Kaufman by a person she would not identify.

"I told her [Kaufman] I see no violation," Vikings athletic director Mark Cates said. "There was no instruction. There was no coaching. I've always supported coaches who wanted open gyms. But outside the school there's been a reinterpretation. Any open gym is now illegal based on the presence of a coach."

Crouse said: "We were up front about what we were doing [open gym]. Our AD knew about it. We feel victimized a bit because we feel the interpretation [of open gyms] has changed."

The idea of allowing players to practice on their own inside a gym with only a parent as supervisor is one that has enjoyed widespread acceptance throughout the county in many sports.

But county Coordinator of Athletics Don Disney said: "Open gym is a term coaches came up with that is not now defined in our handbook, but our sports committee [Committee for Interscholastic Athletics] plans to discuss the situation and define open gym."

Disney also said that the MPSSAA's executive committee is studying the out-of-season practice rule.

Mount Hebron, which self-reported the infraction, can appeal the Rules and Infractions Committee's decision to the county's Committee for Interscholastic Athletics composed of the county's eight principals and eight athletic directors.

Disney said he didn't expect this to be the last reported infraction involving open gyms. "Historically, these come in bunches. There will probably be a couple of more," he said.

Mount Hebron's baseball team had a 7-13 record last season, Crouse's first as varsity coach after six years as junior varsity coach.

Ellis to retire

Wilde Lake boys basketball coach Paul Ellis will retire from the school system at the end of this school year and will not return as coach next season.

Ellis, who will turn 62 next month, coached a county co-championship team at Atholton in 1972, and won another county title at Glenelg in 1977.

He coached Wilde Lake teams to the state Class 1A final four in 1991 and 1994.

He thinks that the best team he ever coached was the 1977 Glenelg squad -- the last Glenelg team to win a county basketball title. That team included Rion Wheeler, Angelo Miles, Gig Miles, Jim Adams and Robert Hutson.

"We averaged 71 points per game, shot 57 percent from the floor and all of our starters averaged in double figures," he said. "We lost to Dunbar that season by six points, and they had Ernie Graham who played at Maryland. And we lost to Cardinal Gibbons by two points, and they had Quinton Dailey who played in the NBA."

The Gladiators also lost that season to Paint Branch and Tracy Jackson, who played at Notre Dame and in the NBA.

Ellis' last game could be Friday night when the Wildecats begin the state playoffs by facing Glenelg.

Dennison hits 1,000

Glenelg Country School's Bernie Dennison scored his 1,000th career point last week.

Dennison, who is averaging 26 points per game, accomplished the feat in just two seasons as a Dragon.

He did it with a 27-point effort against Sts. Peter and Paul that gave him 1,013 points.

Tough roads

The boys basketball playoffs begin tomorrow, and Atholton and Oakland Mills drew especially tough roads.

Atholton (13-6) drew a first-round bye in Class 3A South, but plays second-ranked Dunbar, a two-time defending state champ, Tuesday.

Oakland Mills (10-8) goes against Forestville of Prince George's County tomorrow in Class 2A South. If the Scorpions win they must play Surrattsville followed by Fairmont Heights or Hammond, and then Central (19-3), which has won 13 straight and is ranked 12th in the D.C. area by the Washington Post.

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