Can 12-2 Old Mill win again on another Annapolis trip?

Sidelines

January 29, 1999|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The remaining schedule suggests that tonight could be the last chance for third-ranked Annapolis (14-0 overall, 8-0 league) to lose in the regular boys basketball season.

No. 12 Old Mill (12-2 overall, 7-1 league) visits Annapolis at 7: 15 tonight with hopes of ending the Panthers' 14-game winning streak and gaining a share of first place in the county boys basketball league.

Annapolis is within five victories of matching its school record for consecutive wins and wins to start a season (both at 19).

If the Panthers run the table, they would take a 22-game winning streak into the playoffs. That would break Meade's public-school record of 21 set in 1982-83 and tie Severn's overall county mark in 1992-93.

Only two of the last seven Annapolis opponents after Old Mill have winning records: Broadneck (8-6) and Arundel (7-6). Old Mill dealt the Panthers a shocking 48-43 defeat in Annapolis last season in their only meeting. The victory highlighted a seven-game winning streak and victories in nine of the last 10 games by the Patriots. When Old Mill drew a first-round bye in the regional playoffs, optimism was high about the school earning its first trip to Cole Field House and the state final four since 1992. Westminster ended the Pats' season rather abruptly at 14-9 overall with a 58-54 victory in the region quarterfinals in Millersville.

"They've got everybody back from that team, and they work together well as a unit," said Annapolis coach John Brady. "Old Mill plays good defense, and they're patient on offense."

Patriots coach Paul Bunting has his concerns despite a veteran team with guards Tim Smith, Joel Cruz and Jason Galloway, forwards James Wilson and Keith Rogers and 6-foot-5 center/forward Craig Hall.

"Yes, we've got everybody back, but so do they, and look who they've got," said Bunting. "We don't have a go-to guy like [Thomas] Hawkins, and we have to count on everybody performing their roles.

"And Hawkins is not the only go-to player they have. There's [Marcus] Neal, [Marcus] Johnson, and so on."

Three Panthers average double figures in scoring, led by Hawkins at 15.7. A fourth player, Travis Foster, is at 9.7.

Top-ranked Archbishop Spalding (17-2) travels to Hagerstown for a big Catholic League game at St. Maria Goretti (18-2) at 2 p.m. Sunday. One of Goretti's two losses came in the league opener at Spalding.

Anonymous gripe

An anonymous fax sent Wednesday to county boys basketball coaches raised the ire of Pasadena resident Rick Diggs, Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association commissioner.

The fax accused private schools of "robbing and raping" public school teams of their top basketball players. It specifically mentioned Laurel's Pallotti and the rise of Archbishop Spalding.

"And it suggested that maybe the public schools should consider boycotting the private schools," said Diggs, who also is Pallotti's athletic director. "It bothers me that it was anonymous, and I don't like responding to the anonymous, but if there is a problem, contact me, and the MIAA will investigate."

Diggs can be reached at 410-437-2959.

Sideliners

Annapolis' Brady is proud of the development of Brian Barber, his former All-County and second team All-Metro forward. The 6-7 sophomore at Towson University has emerged as a top Tiger.

"Brian has worked hard, and the Towson coaches are really happy with him as a person and player," said Brady. "He has character and a great work ethic. The Towson coaches have told me they expect him to be a key player in their hopes of turning the program around."

Things did not work out at Towson for Tony Ross, a 6-5, 225-pound forward from Arundel, who was excited last year to join his buddy Barber. Ross, All-County and All-Metro the same year as Barber, has transferred to Florida's St. Leo College.

Old Mill softball coach Lori Darnall has resigned after seven seasons (82-51, .617) because of conflicting schedules with her Old Mill middle school physical education job. Patriots athletic director Jim Dillon (410-969-9010) is looking for a replacement.

Seniors Mike Wooden (RHP, North County) and Casey Trout (SS, Arundel) have been named co-captains of Maryland's baseball team. Wooden was All-County, All-Metro and consensus County Player of the Year in 1995, his final year at North County.

Trout was All-County and second-team All-Metro in 1995, leading the Wildcats to the Class 4A state title.

Have a note or question for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.

Pub Date: 1/29/99

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