Vikings discover a solid leader Boys basketball: Senior co-captain Mike Stromberg has helped Mount Hebron regroup after having to forfeit eight games.

February 16, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Mount Hebron's Mike Stromberg takes a back seat to no one in Howard County when it comes to consistent all-around performance.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior co-captain, averaging a team-high 16.4 points, has scored in double figures in 17 of 19 games, and as point guard has led the Vikings to a remarkable season.

"He has no weaknesses," Vikings coach Scott Conroy said. "He handles the ball well, gets other people involved and takes good shots. You'd like to see him shoot more."

Conroy also praises Stromberg's quick hands, his three-point shooting ability and his ability to play through a wrist injury.

Stromberg thinks his main strengths are his speed, defense and aggressiveness.

Although the official standings read 7-12, in their hearts the Vikings know they are 15-4. They had to forfeit eight games due to an ineligible player -- a substitute who rarely contributed. Until the forfeitures, they were ranked among the area's top 20 teams. And that's from a team that was 10-13 a year ago and graduated most of its starting players.

A lot of squads might have folded after the forfeits, but Mount Hebron has pulled together even harder and won its last seven games with Stromberg as the team's most valuable player.

On Feb. 7, his shot at the buzzer off an inbounds play sank Hammond, 60-58.

"That was my most memorable moment so far," Stromberg said. "Hammond had gotten a lot of ink just before that game, and we had to prove we were still a top team. After we forfeited, a lot of people thought we wouldn't play as well, but we have fought through it."

Thursday night, Mount Hebron avenged one of its four non-forfeit losses, and Stromberg was at his best, scoring 13 points, grabbing nine rebounds, making six assists and six steals and blocking four shots, as the Vikings pulled away from Atholton in the second half for a 62-42 victory.

His top scoring game was 27 against Howard. He rang up 24 points against Centennial, Mount Hebron's only other non-forfeit league loss.

Stromberg and teammates Pat Halter and Brian Picker also play soccer, and have a score to settle with Centennial, which beat the Vikings in the regional soccer championship last fall.

The two teams play again this Wednesday in the final regular-season game, and could meet for a third time in the regional playoffs.

"I would definitely like another chance to play Centennial in the playoffs," Stromberg said.

In seventh grade, he played on the same travel basketball team with Matt Laycock and Brian Otten, a team that won the Baltimore Neighborhood Basketball League's A Division. Laycock and Otten now play soccer and basketball for Centennial.

Stromberg was the MVP as a sophomore on the Vikings' JV team that shared the county championship with Atholton.

He wasn't a big offensive threat last season, but knew he would have to score this season for the Vikings to do well.

Stromberg has played organized basketball since the third grade. He didn't play for Mount Hebron's team in a summer league last year, though. He was too busy playing lacrosse, which some people think is his best sport.

"I've had a full tuition lacrosse offer from Towson, and I'm waiting to hear from Georgetown next week," Stromberg said. He is also considering Notre Dame and Loyola. "Loyola said I could play soccer and lacrosse, so I'm thinking about that."

Stromberg is an athletic dinosaur in that he plays three sports and will earn nine varsity letters.

"It's tiring sometimes, but I enjoy all three so much," he said.

He's such a sports-aholic that he plays in an adult Sunday basketball league during the season just for the tougher competition.

Pub Date: 2/16/97

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