Howard County team previews Local Sports: Basketball Previews

December 03, 1996|By Rick Belz

Atholton Raiders

1995-96 record: 14-7 overall, 11-3 league, county co-champs. Coach: Jim Albert.

Top players: Keith Jefferson, 5-10, Sr., G; Bryan Worsley, 6-3, Sr.; Jahmaar Stafford, 5-10, Sr., G; John Harvey, 6-1, Sr., F; Jared Albert, 6-0, Jr., G; Ryan Lambert, 6-3, Jr., F.

Outlook: The Raiders are three-time defending county champions and are proud of that dominant streak, even though they shared the title with Centennial last season. The Raiders made a respectable showing in the regional quarterfinals, losing by 12 points to eventual state champion Dunbar. The dominant players of that team have all graduated, however, so this appears to be a rebuilding year. "We're small, inexperienced and don't have a lot of shooting," said coach Albert, who is back for his 17th season. "We could be fairly quick, but not like in the past. We'll still play an up-tempo, full-court style." Some coaches don't think Atholton's rebuilding will take that long. The Raiders finished second in the Watkins Mill summer league, and then won the Howard Community College league, but lost to Centennial in the playoffs at the buzzer.

Centennial Eagles

1995-96 record: 18-6 overall, 11-3 league, county co-champs. Coach: Jim Hill.

Top players: Matt Laycock, 6-5, Sr., C; Denny Chapman, 6-4, Sr., F; Brian Otten, 6-2, Sr., F; Scott Bross, 5-10, Sr., G; Andy McShane, 6-6, Jr., F; Chip Harrison, 5-10, Sr., G; Aaron Williams, 5-10, Sr., G; Andres Conejo, 6-0, Jr., G.; Keith Williams, 5-10, Jr., G.

Outlook: The Eagles return all but one starter from a co-championship season -- their second in the past four years. The returnees include leading scorer Laycock (15 points, seven rebounds), Chapman (12 points), Otten (eight points) and Bross (10 points). McShane or Aaron Williams could fill the fifth starting spot when the season begins. Laycock, a first-team All-County pick could dominate inside this season in the absence of players like Wilde Lake's 6-8, 250-pound Carl Jackson, who is now at Penn State. Bross, the point guard, moves the ball well. Otten is an unselfish all-around player with a propensity for clutch shooting. Chapman is a solid scorer and rebounder. The Eagles are quick and work extremely well as a unit. They have size, depth and experience, so they loom as the favorite to win another county title. They also have a chance to advance beyond the regional semifinals where they lost last season to Carver, 73-72. Although it has a veteran, senior-laden starting team, Centennial also has talented juniors, including Conejo, McShane and Keith Williams. So the future also looks bright. "I'm encouraged by our juniors. We should be competitive," said Hill, who is coaching his 13th season.

Chapelgate Christian Flames

1995-96 record: 10-9. Coach: Gary Berwager.

Top players: Josh Barlow, 6-2, Sr., G; Chris Davidson, 5-10, Soph. G; Richard Price, 5-10, Jr., G; Dan Bird, 6-0, Jr., F; Tim Hazelhorst, 6-2, Sr., F; John Ring, 6-4, Soph., F; Nathan Brenneman, 5-10, Sr., G.

Outlook: The Flames return leading scorer Davidson (18 points), and have another experienced guard in Barlow (12 points, eight rebounds, five assists). Price played a backup point guard position and averaged four points and three assists. Bird averaged seven points and seven rebounds. The Flames have added a little more height with Hazelhorst and Ring, and they expect to improve upon last season's record in the Christian Schools Athletic Association.

Glenelg Gladiators

1995-96 record: 6-14 overall, 2-12 league. Coach: Klaude Krannebitter.

Top players: Nick Barnes, 6-8, Soph., C; Chuck Kennedy, 6-2, Sr., G; Todd Brian, 6-1, Sr., G/F; Dan Stolper, 6-1, Sr., F; Matt Mulhern, 6-2, Sr., F; Eric Krausse, 6-4, C; Brandon Robertson, 5-10, Soph., G.

Outlook: The Gladiators graduated seven of their top eight players from last season. The only returnee who say much playing time is Barnes, a 230-pounder who grew three inches since last season and was the leading scorer in Glenelg Country School's summer league that included teams from Howard, South Carroll, Liberty and Mount Hebron. "Barnes is looking real good," Krannebitter said. "He can shoot a three-pointer or a 17-foot jumper." Ball-handling will be a weakness and with Barnes in the lineup don't look for the Gladiators to run. They'll play their normal matchup zone defense with Kennedy as the best defensive player. Krannebitter has a new assistant coach, Mike Caproilla, a doctor of exercise physiology at Howard

University and a former assistant coach to Lefty Driesell at Maryland.

Glenelg Country School Dragons

1995-96 record: 9-13 overall, 3-7 MIAA C Conference. Coach: John Aquila.

Top players: Jason Greenberg, 6-0, Fr., G; Eric Greenberg, 6-0, Jr., G; Garth DeAngelis, 6-4, Soph., F; Pat Dennison, 6-3, Jr., F; Nick Woodford, 6-2, Jr., C; Jason Casley-Hayford, 6-0, Sr., G/F.

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