1997-98 All-Anne Arundel County boys basketball

March 17, 1998|By PAT O'MALLEY AND GLENN GRAHAM

Coach of the Year

Butch Young, Meade: The only coach to take this honor twice during the 1990s (also' 93), Young's 31st season as a head coach mirrored his career as a winner. Faced with the county's most transient student population due to military transfers and related factors, Young led the Mustangs to their first winning season since 1993 at 19-6. Challenging for the county and Class 4A East region titles was unexpected because Meade had few players back. But for the first time in four years, Maurice Davis was academically eligible, Jeff Charles transferred in from Michigan and Steve Goforth put on some weight and went from scrimmage-extra to starting point guard. Young, a Western Maryland native who was a three-sport star at Frostburg State, blended that trio with returnees Steve Spurlin and David Stangee into the county's best starting five. After going 16-1 overall in the county, including two wins over Annapolis, 80-70 in regular season and 70-63 in the county championship game, the Mustangs dropped a 64-62 heart-breaker to Annapolis in the 4A East semifinals. It was a bitter ending to one of Young's most satisfying seasons. "Considering where they started and how far they came, it was a pleasure," said Young (421-282, eight county and three region titles). "We just didn't get it done that night." Pulling out the close ones became the Meade trademark as the season wore on, but the clock ran out on the Wildcats in the regional.

Player of the Year

Thomas Hawkins, Annapolis, Soph., S: A player beyond his age, Hawkins is the first sophomore named County Player of the Year since the award began in 1980. He is the seventh Annapolis player chosen and the first since Boo Diggs in his junior in 1996. In the year of the underclassman when 11 of the 22 players named first, second or third team are non-seniors, Hawkins was best of them all. After becoming the first freshman to ever play varsity at Annapolis, the 6-foot-3 Hawkins became the leader of the youngest county team to ever win a region title and advance to the final four at Cole Field House. Hawkins, who played guard, forward and posted up on occasion, led the No. 7 Panthers (21-7) in scoring with 20.2 points per game and rebounds (7.1). "Thomas was a clever and mature offensive player," said Annapolis coach John Brady. "With the graduation of our top seven players, Thomas filled a major scoring role." Hawkins also averaged two assists, two steals, shot 42 percent from three-point range and was an 85-percent free throw shooter. In the Panthers' 70-64 state semifinal loss to eventual state champion Gaithersburg (27-1), Hawkins had a team-high 16 points.

The first team

Matt Briggs, Severna Park, Sr., S: One of two first-teamers who followed in his father's footsteps as an All-County player, Briggs was the county's second leading scorer (21.0 average, 485 points in 23 games) after a whirlwind finish. The 6-foot-2 Briggs averaged more than 25 points a game in his last 13 games, setting school records for points (46) in a game and season three-pointers (53). His dad, Jon Briggs Sr., who still holds the school record for points in a season (497, Matt is third), owned the school record for points in a game with 39 until 1992 when Rich Riffle (486 career points) hit for 40. Matt Briggs twice hit six threes in a game and shot 58 percent from long distance. Briggs also averaged 5.7 boards and led his team in assists with 2.9 per game. "Matt is a tough competitor," said coach Paul Pellicani. Briggs, who has 3.2 GPA and 1,160 on his Scholastic Assessment Test, is considering NCAA Division I Radford, Division II Shepherd and Bloomsburg and Division III Washington College.

Maurice Davis, Meade, Sr., G: Davis' dad, Eric Wade, was an All-County guard at Meade in 1982 averaging 12.8 points under coach Butch Young. Son topped dad by leading the county champion Mustangs (19-6, 16-1 county) in scoring with 17.3 points per game (415 in 24 games), by hitting 31 three-pointers, 49 percent from the floor (138-for-281) and a team-leading 77 percent at the line. The 6-1 Davis, who also played excellent man-to-man defense and had a knack for put-backs off missed free throws, averaged 6.2 boards and 3.3 assists in what was his first and only varsity season. "Maurice worked hard taking night classes in addition to his regular daytime load to become eligible academically," said coach Young. "You're going to hear from him in the future." Davis is considering Hagerstown Junior College.

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