1996 All-Carroll County boys basketball

March 15, 1996

Coach of the year

Randy Peterson, Carroll Christian: It was a season of milestones for Peterson, who enjoyed his 250th career win early and topped it off by guiding the Patriots (18-8) to their first Maryland Association of Christian Schools state title. Peterson, who completed his 15th season overall and fourth at Carroll Christian, had a new cast of players with only one starter back from last year's team. With the smallest team in the Potomac Christian Athletic Conference, Peterson employed a pressing defense to convert instant offense and used a bench that went nine deep. After a 2-3 start, the Patriots put it all together to win their first conference tournament title and didn't stop there. They went on to capture the state title with an impressive 69-38 win over three-time defending state champ Harford Christian, which beat the Patriots by 11 earlier in the season. In the state final, the Patriots went to their perimeter game early to get bigger Harford Christian out of its zone. Playing man-to-man, Harford simply couldn't keep up with the quicker Patriots, who were comfortable throughout with their pressure defense, which dropped back in a zone. "We really had a great year and it was totally unexpected," Peterson said. "It was one of my most enjoyable years coaching because the kids hustled and worked hard all year long. We didn't have the size that most teams had, but made up for it with hustle and aggressiveness. The kids worked together and never gave up all season long."

First team

Tyrone Ellis, Liberty: Whenever the Lions needed instant offense, Ellis was there to provide it. Moving to the shooting guard spot after playing up front most of last season, Ellis averaged 15 points a game with three-point range and ability to drive to the basket. He was particularly big down the stretch for the Lions, who went 12-11 this season and 4-3 in the county. "He was a nice spark plug for our offense," said Liberty coach Scott Kohr. "Last year we used him as our four man, but this season we used him at two and he was excited to be able to move out and face the basket." Ellis also averaged 4.2 rebounds a game with 52 assists and 36 steals.

Jason Gelb, North Carroll: The 6-foot-4 center was the Panthers' most consistent player this season with a strong inside game to go along with a reliable short jumper. At the other end, he was a strong defender with 42 blocks and was a force on the boards. "He had some games where he scored a lot for us, but you could always count on him to get his 15 points and eight rebounds a game," said North Carroll coach Troy Warehime. One of Gelb's finer efforts came in the North Carroll Holiday Tournament, when he scored 23 points against Fallston to be named to the all-tournament team.

Matt Laczkowski, Westminster: At 6-8, Laczkowski was far and away the biggest player in the county this season, and he played that way. He also showed the outside touch of a shooting guard, leading the team in three-pointers. The senior center, who saw limited action last season, stepped up in a big way to lead a young Owls team to another county championship. Laczkowski finished the season averaging 15 points and eight rebounds a game and was in a class of his own when it came to blocked shots in the county. "He worked hard in the off-season and really solidified his skills," said Westminster coach Dave Byers. It was supposed to be a rebuilding season, but Laczkowski saved his best for county play and the Owls (9-14, 5-1) won their first five county games.

James Lee, Liberty: The first thing Liberty coach Scott Kohr talked about when discussing his point guard's fine play this season was his improved ability to run the Lions' offense. Lee's ++ quickness, creativity and ability to get everyone involved played a big part in the Lions' first winning season under Kohr. "He was able to cut his turnovers down in half from last year. It gave him confidence and me confidence in him," Kohr said. "He was a little more patient this year. He's certainly a thoroughbred and likes to go hard, but this season he had a better understanding of our offense." Lee averaged 17.3 points this season with 79 rebounds, 77 assists and 59 steals.

The teams

Player of the Year: Mike Crawmer, Francis Scott Key

Coach of the Year: Randy Peterson, Carroll Christian

First team

Name -- School, Year, Position

Mike Crawmer -- F. Scott Key, Senior, Forward

Tyrone Ellis -- Liberty, Senior, Guard

Jason Gelb -- North Carroll, Senior, Center

Matt Laczkowski -- Westminster, Senior, Center

James Lee -- Liberty, Senior, Guard

Second team

Desmond Esteves -- Westminster, Sophomore, Guard

Ed Ruch -- Liberty, Senior, Forward

Gabe Stephenson -- F. Scott Key, Senior, Guard

Bruce Wright -- North Carroll, Senior, Guard

Dan Wroten -- South Carroll, Senior, Forward

Honorable mention: Josh Belcher, John Brunson, Carroll Christian; Cortney Woodyard, Francis Scott Key; Daryl Knight, Liberty; Brian Mayle, North Carroll; Matt McGaw, South Carroll.

Player of the year

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