1996-97 All-Carroll County boys basketball

March 18, 1997|By Jeff Seidel and Glenn P. Graham

Coach of the Year

Jim Carnes, South Carroll: Before the season, Carnes said he was worried about how well the team would fare. The Cavaliers had struggled badly last year, and Carnes was not sure if they were a candidate for .500. But, as coaches often do, Carnes was a bit too hard on himself and his team. Carnes guided several solid players -- including Matt Steppling and transfer John Ely -- to a 14-7 finish. The Cavaliers took second in the county, losing only to eventual champion Westminster. Carnes was able to put together a nice mix of strong inside and outside play to help the Cavaliers not only see .500 but leave it far behind. Steppling's strong performance helped as did the infusion of good outside shooting, led by Ely. South Carroll will lose several good players from this team, but Carnes will bring back some talented players next season so he won't have to worry as much.

Player of the Year

Matt Steppling, South Carroll, Sr., F: Coach Jim Carnes called the 6-foot-4 forward "Mr. Consistent." Steppling averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game for the resurgent Cavaliers. With no down games this season, Steppling was the rock South Carroll could lean on. He dominated inside and then could open up the lane for the Cavaliers by moving outside to shoot and pulling his defender with him. Steppling played both small and power forward this season and crashed the boards time and again to spark South Carroll. He also was not afraid to hit the floor going after loose balls -- his hustle often sparked the Cavaliers.

The first team

Kevin DeCarlo, Francis Scott Key, Jr., C: What a season he had. After a slow start, the strong 6-foot-4 Eagle made his presence felt by leading the team in scoring and rebounding. He finished with a county-high average of 15.8 points per game and shot nearly 60 percent from the floor. DeCarlo scored at least 20 in several consecutive games during one stretch. He gave Key strong inside play versus the often physical MVAL opponents. "He was a man in there," said Key coach Jeff Cook. "He was a scorer this year." Wait 'til next year; it could be even better.

John Ely, South Carroll, Jr., G: The transfer from West Virginia hit nothing but net time and time again this season, giving the South Carroll offense a huge jolt. Ely averaged 14 points per game and was an outstanding three-point shooter. He hit six three-pointers in a game three times, and his three-point shooting percentage was even better than his two. Carnes said his outside prowess took pressure off the offense and opened up defenses. In addition, Ely was a smooth ball-handler under pressure.

Desmond Esteves, Westminster, Jr., G: One of the quickest players in the county, this smooth point guard helped the Owls in so many ways. He truly could do it all. Esteves averaged 9.8 points per game for the county champions and ran the offense very well. And to help the offense, he racked up 53 steals and 94 assists in 24 games. In addition, he impressed coach Dave Byers by coming up very big in the crucial games -- Sherwood, Frederick, Quince Orchard. He's a player that other teams truly don't like to see or to play against.

Aaron Krug, Westminster, Jr., G: Another strong all-around player for the Owls. He led the team with an average of 12.5 points per game. Krug also could hit from the outside, making 47 three-pointers in addition to hitting 45 of 58 from the free-throw line. His solid outside shooting loosened up the opposing zones. In addition, he played tough defense against good shooting guards throughout the season and could step in and run the point if needed. The combination of Krug and Esteves will give the Owls a solid base to build on.

Luke Vriezen, Liberty, Sr., F/C: The football star showed people that he's also got talent in other sports. He was the second-leading scorer for the Lions with 12 points per game and topped the team in rebounds with an average of seven. A very physical and intense player who sparked the defense in the lane, his biggest game was a 32-point, 14-rebound performance when the Lions handed Westminster its only loss. Vriezen became more consistent later in the season when Liberty went to a slower tempo against the strong CMC teams. At that time, Vriezen also began to hit from farther away to help stretch defenses.

All-Carroll County boys basketball

Coach of the Year: Jim Carnes, South Carroll

Player of the Year: Matt Steppling, South Carroll

First team

Name ............ School ......... Year ...... Position

Matt Steppling .. S. Carroll ..... Senior .... Forward

Kevin DeCarlo ... F.S. Key ....... Junior .... Center

John Ely ........ South Carroll .. Junior .... Guard

Desmond Esteves.. Westminster .... Junior .... Guard

Aaron Krug ...... Westminster .... Junior .... Guard

Luke Vriezen .... Liberty ........ Senior .... Forward

Second team

Name ............ School ......... Year ...... Position

Josh Hollman .... F.S. Key ....... Junior .... Guard

Brad Johnson .... South Carroll .. Senior .... Forward

Billy Mays ...... Westminster .... Senior .... Guard

Bill Marriott ... Liberty ........ Senior .... Center

Tony Reightler .. North Carroll .. Senior .... Guard

Baron Smalls Westminster Senior Forward Honorable mention: Sam McGrane, South Carroll; Neil Petroski, South Carroll; Jeff Wharton, Liberty

Team selection

The Baltimore Sun 1997 All-Carroll County boys and girls basketball teams were selected by Jeff Seidel and Glenn P. Graham after consulting with The Sun staff and area coaches.

! Pub Date: 3/18/97

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