Turning up heat on old rivalry Boys basketball: The battle for the county championship could be showdown between Randallstown and Woodlawn.

December 03, 1996|By Mark Hoeflich | Mark Hoeflich,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Randallstown vs. Woodlawn hasn't amounted to much of a rivalry the past two years.

Until the 1994 season, Woodlawn had established itself as the dominant team in Baltimore County, winning four of six league championships and 40 straight games against county opponents. But since a season-opening win over the Warriors two years ago, the Rams have changed the balance of power, having won four straight over Woodlawn with an average margin of victory of nearly 15 points.

As the top two teams in the county this season, a lot will again be at stake for both the Rams and Warriors. The league championship and quite possibly the Class 3A North regional title, will likely come down to these two schools. Then there's the matter of bragging rights and Randallstown has gained the upper hand. Woodlawn, however, may be in better position to capture its second straight league title. For one, the Warriors have a new coach in Bobby Richardson and a new attitude. Then there's experience with three returning senior starters -- Billy Epps, Marcel Smith and Paul Kwajasa -- all of whom played significant roles in Woodlawn's late-season charge a year ago.

"It's a big rivalry between the schools and we'll have to work hard to beat them," said Richardson. "Randallstown is an excellent team and, early on, we'll see how ready we are since we open the season against them."

Rams coach Kim Rivers will go with a younger, less-experienced group than usual, but Randallstown has enough staying power XTC to win the Hoopsters Division. Troy Lewis, an All-Metro point guard a year ago now at Coppin State, will be missed, but the backcourt is stabilized with the addition of two transfers. Rivers also has the luxury of using as many as 10 players.

"There's not going to be one person to carry us this year," Rivers said.

Other than Catonsville, Randallstown doesn't figure to get much of a challenge in its division, where a .500 record could keep the remaining five teams within reach. Woodlawn, however, could be challenged by Milford Mill and Owings Mills in the Quickshooters Division.

Pikesville certainly won't take control of the Sharpshooters Division as it did a year ago. The Panthers lost their entire starting team, which leaves Sparrows Point as the runaway favorite to win the league.

After an experimental 1995 season in which the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association tried to bring more balance to the league, it has this season reverted back to the original A, B, and C Conferences.

Curley, Park and Friends, members of last seasons Tier IV, move up to the B Conference, while Spalding and Arlington Baptist, of Tier III and IV, respectively a year ago, join Beth Tfiloh, Lutheran, Glenelg Country and Mount Carmel in the C Conference.

Pub Date: 12/03/96

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