1996-97 All-Arundel County boys basketball

March 18, 1997|By Pat O'Malley and Bill Free

Coach of the year

Ken Kazmarek, Broadneck: Faced with more questions than any season since he started at Broadneck 13 years ago, Kazmarek knew only that he had a defensive stalwart in John Williams and more overall quickness. Losing three starters and nearly 40 points a game to graduation, the main question was, "Could the Bruins score enough to win?" Kazmarek turned Williams, who had never averaged more than 10 points a game, into an offensive force (led county in scoring) while honing the post moves of 6-5 Noble Watkins and developing sophomore Lehrman Dotson (4.8 assists) at point guard to blend with several role players. Broadneck was an unlikely repeat county champion at 16-1 (only loss to Severna Park) bettering the 14-3 of the previous year. Kazmarek, who is 240-95 in 14 county seasons, 13 at the Cape St. Claire school (229-83) and one at Arundel (11-12, 1983-84) guided the Bruins to a No. 7 ranking and his fifth 20-win season (20-5). While the Bruins' season and 15-game winning streak ended with a 63-56 loss at No. 6 Dunbar in the 3A East final, there were several huge wins along the way. Probably the Bruins' most notable was by 53-51 over Centennial of Howard County in the 3A playoffs. Centennial came in at 22-0, ranked No. 4 by the Sun and No. 1 by the Washington Post. But, the Bruins played typical Kazmarek pressure, man-to-man and match-up zone defense in shutting down a very talented and athletic team. For the first time in school history, the Bruins defeated 4A Annapolis (20-6) twice (by 55-38 and 55-53) and also got the county's other highly ranked team, Arundel (18-6) two times (58-56 and 63-54). After winning the South division, Broadneck rolled in the county championship game by 66-55 over North division winner Chesapeake (12-12). During the regular season, the Bruins routed Chesapeake, 59-41. "It was one of my most satisfying years," said Kazmarek, who was also county Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1988. "This team loved to play defense, and they accepted their roles, which is what made us successful. I had hoped John and Noble could give us 30 points a game and they gave us 35 between them."

Player of the Year

John Williams, Broadneck, swingman: A four-year starter, Williams became the total package in leading the No. 7 Bruins (20-5) to their second straight county championship and the 3A East region final. Williams, who is the fourth Bruin to be Player of the Year, had never averaged more than 10 points a game while establishing a reputation as a defensive standout. Called on to score more this year, the Naval Academy-bound Williams led the county with an average of 20.6 points a game, shooting 41 percent from the floor (38 percent three-pointers) and 77 percent from the line (156-for-201). Williams also averaged 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game and guarded the opponent's leading scorer. His overall play and leadership enabled the Bruins to dominate the county (16-1). "I've never and probably never will coach a kid who played with the kind of enthusiasm John did, " said coach Ken Kazmarek. "His hustle over four years was inspiring. He's a tenacious defensive player who I think will do very well at Navy." Some of Williams top games: 23 points and 11 rebounds in a 55-38 win over Annapolis; 30 points, seven boards in a 63-54 win over Arundel; 21 points in the 66-55 county championship victory over Chesapeake; scored seven of his game-high 16 points in the final period in a 53-51 over previously unbeaten Centennial in the region playoffs; and 19 points, eight rebounds in a 63-56 loss to Dunbar in the region final.

The first team

Brian Barber, Annapolis, forward: Barber, who signed with Towson State, was consistent for No. 10 Annapolis (20-6), averaging 15.0 points and 11.2 rebounds. The lanky senior was a force posting up, but took it outside on occasion and displayed a soft touch from the perimeter. Among his season highlights: 54 points (30 in 82-62 final over Landon), 26 boards and three blocked shots in two games as the Panthers won their own Cap City holiday tournament; 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 56-53 loss to Broadneck; and 16 points, 14 boards in a 60-55 win over Arundel. Barber finished his career with 562 rebounds.

Boo Diggs, Annapolis, forward: The only repeater on this year's first team, the 6-7 Diggs averaged 13.8 points, 11.8 caroms and blocked 2.3 shots in 23 games for the 4A East Region finalist Panthers. Very athletic and intimidating in the paint, Diggs is also a defensive standout. A three-year player with 1,003 career points (third on Panthers' all-time list) and 820 rebounds, Diggs scored 12 points and had game-high totals of 13 rebounds and five snuffed shots in his final game, a 71-60 loss to Calvert (Northern) in the 3A East final.

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