1997-98 Harford County boys basketball previews

December 05, 1997|By Mark Hoeflich

Aberdeen Eagles

1996-97 record: 23-3

Coach: Ron Petry

Top players: Delvin Green, 5-10, G, Sr.; E.J. Henderson, 6-3, Sr., F; Jason Owen, 6-1, Jr., G; Stephon Watson, 6-3, Jr., F.

Outlook: The Eagles' move up to Class 3A comes after losing a large chunk from last season's regional final team. Henderson (16.6 points a game, 10.4 rebounds) is the central figure on offense, but he will need an assist from Watson (8.9 points, 6.6 rebounds a game). The backcourt has a new look, and although Petry has a thin bench, it could be the difference come post-season play.

Bel Air Bobcats

1996-97 record: 14-10

Coach: Bill George

Top players: Alex Bernstein, 6-5, Sr., F; Phil Hunter, 55-8, Sr., PG; Ben Skurdal, 6-0, Sr., G; Joe Tyrrell, 6-0, Sr., F; Keith Walsh, 6-7, Jr., C.

Outlook: Bernstein is the only starter back and should benefit most from the steady improvement of Hunter at point guard. Joining Bernstein on the front line is Tyrrell, an often-used reserve last season. As usual, the Bobcats possess excellent fundamentals and will use a match-up zone to slow down opponents.

C. Milton Wright Mustangs

1996-97 record: 11-12

Coach: George Constantine

Top players: Andy Heath, 6-2, Sr., G; Mike Mason, 6-8, Sr., C; Brian Mitchell, 6-10, Sr., F; John Rudolph, 6-1, Sr., G; Jeff Sparenberg, 6-3, Sr., F; Joe Updegrove, 6-2, Sr., F.

Outlook: The Mustangs have a lot of height, so the focus will be pushing the ball inside. However, a consistent scorer must emerge. Heath and Rudolph face expanded roles, and several underclassmen could help the perimeter a game.

Edgewood Rams

1996-97 record: 24-4

Coach: Bob Slagle

Top players: Eric Butler, 5-9, Soph., G; Calvin Corley, 6-3, Sr., F; Robert Ghirardello, 6-4, Sr., C; Mike Griffin, 6-2, Sr., G; Allen Jordan, 6-1, Sr., F; Chris Suber, 6-4, Soph., F; Keith Winder, 6-0, Sr., F.

Outlook: With Winder and Griffin returning, the Rams have the potential to defend their Class 1A state title. Winder (17.8 points a game) is a scoring threat off the dribble or on the wing and had 88 steals a year ago. Griffin (20.6 points a game) made 89 three-pointers last season (shooting at 40 percent), and recorded a team-high 116 assists. Corley (8.9 points, 5.1 rebounds a game) gives the Rams a physical presence inside, while Jordan supplements a swift transition game.

Fallston Cougars

1996-97 record: 11-13

Coach: Joe Collins

Top players: Dan Amoss, 6-6, Sr., F-C; James Groh, 6-4, Sr., F; Matt Hoch, 6-1, Sr., G.

Outlook: Under second-year coach Collins, the Cougars are a more structured group who will rely on three senior starters. Defense is at a premium with the Cougars likely a low-scoring team.

Harford Tech Cobras

1996-97 record: 4-16

Coach: Darrell Morris

Top players: Jay Gant, 5-9, Soph., PG; Aaron Quander, 6-3, Jr., F; Johnny Selby, 5-6, Jr., G; Dante Woodbury, 6-4, Jr., C.

Outlook: Morris, last season's JV coach, now has the varsity and brought several new players up with him. The Cobras' strength is in the backcourt, but they remain a young, building program.

Havre de Grace Warriors

1996-97 record: 10-12

Coach: Johnny Brooks

Top players: Mike Grimsley, 5-10, Sr., G; Jabriel Johnson, 5-10, Jr., G; Cochice Jerome, 6-2, Jr., F; Jamar Simon, 6-1, Jr., F.

Outlook: The Warriors lost their starting five and face a fresh start with several players up from the JV. Brooks will use several lineups to find the right combination, but the Warriors' athletic ability alone should keep them among the league's top five teams.

John Carroll Patriots

1996-97 record: 6-17

Coach: Pat Coles

Top players: Chris Ackerman, 6-4, Sr., F; Scott Collins, 6-1, Sr., F; Richard Grason, 6-8, Sr., C; Jordan Lally, 5-10, Sr., PG; Mike Malone, 6-0, Sr., G.

Outlook: The Patriots are thin on guards and, thus, need Grason to pick up the pace inside. There are some quality shooters, and the Patriots need consistent efforts from all of them to remain competitive in the Catholic League.

Joppatowne Mariners

1996-97 record: 8-12

Coach: Tony Hockaday

Top players: Tony Brooks, 6-4, Sr., C; Shaheem Nash, 55-8, Sr., PG; Rod Register, 6-1, Jr., G; Mario Tatum, 6-0, Sr., G; Terry Vaughn, 6-4, Sr., F.

Outlook: With an increase in size and backcourt quickness, the Mariners should make a move up in the league standings. Brooks, a transfer from Havre de Grace, figures to contribute immediately while backcourt tandem Nash and Tatum lead the move to a more up-tempo style. The added height should help the Mariners improve their rebounding.

North Harford Hawks

1996-97 record: 6-17

Coach: Spike Griffith

Top players: Galen Beers, 6-0, Sr., G; Larry Dawson, 5-7, Jr., G; Bill Farrell, 5-10, Jr., G; Casey Garland, 5-8, Sr., G; Walter Howard, 6-3, Jr., C; Nate Koss, 6-1, Sr., G.

Outlook: Beers, Garland and Koss make the Hawks a good perimeter-shooting team, but they lack an inside game. Griffiths' bench depth allows him to go two-deep at each position.

Girls

Harford Tech Cobras

1996-97 record: NA.

Coach: Debra Miller

Top players: Shanda Coley, 5-2, Jr., G; Jennifer Cromwell, 5-3, Jr., G; Tiffany Whitley, 5-3, Jr., G; Dorian Hargrove, 5-5, Jr., F; Debbie Day, 6-2, Sr., C.

Outlook: The Cobras just might show some promise with seven returning players, all of whom have improved their skills. Day provides rare size inside and could benefit most from the stronger backcourt.

Harford Christian Eagles

1996-97 record: 18-9

Coach: Brian Akers

Top players: Jen Collins, 6-3, Soph., C; Amy Craddock, 5-9, Sr., F; Kim Grant, 5-8, Fr., G; Kristan McKnight, 5-11, Jr., G; Gretchen Young, 5-9, Jr., G.

Outlook: Akers has had one losing season over his four years and Harford Christian figures to continue its success with a starting lineup with four AAU players. The Eagles are young, having to replace six seniors, but Collins' steady improvement could lessen their growing pains.

Pub Date: 12/05/97

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