If it's any consolation to the Archbishop Spalding boys basketball team, which fell from No. 1 to No. 3 in The Sun's Top 20, the coach of the team that knocked it off its lofty perch has high regard for it.
Coach Mike Daniel's then-No. 3 and now No. 2 Towson Catholic Owls (19-4) upset the Cavaliers, 63-60 Sunday in Towson, ending Spalding's school-record 11-game winning streak and five-week grip on the top spot in the metro area.
The Owls' victory left them tied with Spalding (21-3) for first place in the Catholic League at 9-1.
After the game, Daniel had high praise for the Cavs, who outlasted his defending league-champion Owls, 71-68 at Spalding on Jan. 15.
"We've played them all, including Good Counsel, and Spalding is definitely one of the best teams we've played, " said Daniel. "Spalding can play with anybody."
Good Counsel (23-1) is the top-ranked team in Maryland according to the Associated Press State Top 20 and is No. 5 in the USA Today national rankings.
Spalding started this season ranked No. 3 in The Sun behind incumbent Dunbar and No. 2 Southern-Baltimore (now 11-4 and No. 7). Spalding took over the top spot on Jan. 5, becoming the first Anne Arundel County boys team to ever do so.
The Cavs' impressive runner-up finish in the King Cotton Classic in Arkansas during the holidays coupled with Dunbar's two losses and sixth-place finish in the Slam Dunk at the Beach in Delaware resulted in the switch at the top spot.
Sunday's loss to the Owls enabled Dunbar (15-2) to regain the No. 1 ranking, and a county resident played a big part in the Cavs' fall.
Linthicum's Gil Goodrich stole the ball with the Owls leading 62-60 with about four seconds remaining and was fouled with one tick left on the clock.
After missing the first of two foul shots, Goodrich hit the second to make it 63-60 and force Spalding to hoist a desperation three-pointer that fell short at the buzzer.
Spalding point guard Derrick Snowden left a somber locker room Sunday saying his teammates were "taking it hard," but would "put it behind us and get ready for Calvert Hall. We will get it back."
The Cavaliers visit No. 9 Calvert Hall (14-9, 4-6) at 8 p.m. Friday in their first of four remaining league games. If they can win them all, including the final game on Feb. 21 at No. 14 St. Frances (9-6), the Cavs would probably still need some help from Hagerstown's St. Maria Goretti to win the league regular-season title.
Towson Catholic plays its last game at Goretti (23-4, 7-3), and the Gaels could help Spalding finish first by a game and earn the top seed for the league's postseason tournament by beating the Owls.
If there is a tie for first, there will be a one-game playoff at a neutral site for the top seed and regular-season title.
Respect for county boys
With Spalding ranked third, followed by Annapolis (16-1) at No. 4, Meade (15-2) at No. 6 and No. 8 Old Mill (15-2), it's the first time since 1989 that the county boys have placed four teams in the top 10.
The Evening Sun's final poll in '89 had: (4) Annapolis, (5) Broadneck, (8) Meade and (9) Old Mill.
Also, since the AP State poll began, this is the first season four county teams have cracked the top 20 with (6) Spalding, (11) Annapolis, (15) Meade and (20) Old Mill.
Changing of the guard
With Brad Best stepping down after 10 seasons as St. Mary's football coach, his successor Mike Codd is the seventh new county coach since 1997.
Hired in '97: Mark Frye (Meade), Steve Sweet (Northeast) and John Moscato (Spalding); and hired in '98: Brad Wilson (Glen Burnie), Mike Marcus (Old Mill) and J. P. Hines (Severna Park).
Jon Sakalas, who scored two goals for Towson University in its 5-3 victory over Navy in the 22nd Crab Pot final Sunday, is a 1994 graduate of Severna Park High.
Severna Park resident Mark Teixeira is batting .364 as the freshman third baseman for nationally ranked Georgia Tech.
Broadneck grad Todd Betz has won 11 in a row and is off to an 18-6 start as the 133-pounder on the York College wrestling team.
Glen Burnie's Ben Ferguson, a Spalding grad, is a 184-pound wrestler at King's College in Wilkes-Barre (Pa.).
Tamir Goodman and Talmudical Academy will play at Severna Park next season and maybe at Annapolis, as well.
The Hero's womens' club lacrosse team is looking for a coach. Call 410-647-0188. Tryouts for the team are set for Feb. 17 and 24. For details, call 410-766-5461.
Calendar stuff: Friends of Joe Cannon Baseball Scholar dinner, May 30 at Michael's Eighth Avenue and the county All-Star seniors baseball game, June 6 at Cannon Stadium.
Have a note or question for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline, 410-647-2499.
Pub Date: 2/10/99