Sagging Key looking to tighten up its act Boys basketball: After opening with seven wins, the Eagles have lost their last two. Better defense is what's needed, says the team's leader.

January 09, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

A week ago, it would have been a battle of unbeatens. Tonight, only one perfect team will be on display when Brunswick plays at home against Monocacy Valley Athletic League rival Francis Scott Key.

While Brunswick goes in 9-0 overall and 6-0 in league play, Key will be trying to regroup after successive losses at North Hagerstown and at home against Catoctin, making its record 7-2, 3-2.

"Our expectations for a good year were high before the season started, and they still are," scoring leader Josh Hollman was saying before a recent practice. "We are still trying to put things ,, together. Although a couple of games were OK in those wins, we still need a lot of work. Our success depends on our defense, and right now we are not playing to our potential."

The 5-foot-9 Hollman is averaging 17.1 points. Included are shooting percentages of 64 on two-pointers and 40 on three-pointers, and 20-for-24 from the foul line.

The senior point guard, who had two JV seasons before moving up to the varsity last winter, burned man-to-man defenses in the early going, but against zones the last two games, he experienced his lowest point totals. He had 12 against North Hagerstown and just five against Catoctin.

"No question, my outside shooting was off," Hollman said. "The nice thing about this team, however, is that we have more experienced depth and can go to anybody. Kevin's stats are up, and Andy picked up the scoring slack the last two games."

He was referring to senior Kevin DeCarlo and junior Andy Jenkins.

DeCarlo, 6-4 and 230 pounds, was an All-County player last season who has improved his rebounding, up to 10.8 from 6.5 of a year ago, to go with 11 points a game. Jenkins, a 6-3 guard, has scored 23 and 22 his last two outings, giving him three 20-point-plus efforts in his last four games, and an overall average of 15.0.

Hollman and Jenkins rate 1-2 on the team in assists (3.5 and 3.0), as well as scoring, and they are tied for the lead in steals (2.0). Hollman averages 2.5 turnovers and the team, 16.

"For us to win, we have to box out underneath and play overall hard defense," Hollman added. "As long as we do those things, we'll be OK on offense. Our defense gets our offense going. We are starting to get better scoring balance with our inside and outside shooters, and that takes off some of the pressure."

Cook cited reserves Steve Webb and Justin Thomas for playing well as he attempts to work more people into the action.

Francis Scott Key has had only one .500 season in coach Jeff Cook's eight years, and last season's unit won a total of eight games. "We're much stronger this year," he says, "but we have to get them believing in themselves, believing they can win."

The Eagles did not match up well against North Hagerstown, but they figured to do better against Catoctin.

Brunswick got injured senior Nathan Shankle back for North Hagerstown last week, and his seven points and strong defense helped the Railroaders to a 67-59 victory. At South Hagerstown, the 5-10 senior guard had eight points and four assists, plus two blocks.

Frankie Clements is Brunswick's tallest player at 6-5. Against North Hagerstown, he had 13 points, and against South only four points, but 13 rebounds and two blocks. The Frederick County team spreads its scoring around, too, as Kevin Harrington had 15 against North, and Bernie Lipscomb 19 against South.

Pub Date: 1/08/98

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