Short on size, but big in wins

Boys basketball: Perry Hall uses the old-fashioned formula of hustle, discipline and execution to build an undefeated record.

High Schools

January 16, 2000|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

They're relentless on defense, yet only one player has fouled out of a game, "and no other players have had as many as four fouls other than that," according to the coach.

Their tallest players are 6-foot-6 and 6-3, yet they are rarely beaten to a rebound. They don't score a lot of points individually, but the Perry Hall Gators, somehow, have managed to win every boys basketball game this season.

Furthermore, the coaches' drilling allows his players to be virtually interchangeable, regardless of the situation, so that "when guys have missed games or been sick, we've been able to make adjustments with a six- or eight-man rotation."

How? Good old-fashioned hustle, discipline and execution, according to the Gators' first-year coach, Eric Evanosky.

"We don't have a lot of height. We don't have a lot of guys scoring in double figures. We're not going to win a lot of games by the fast break, and we're not going to win it by being explosive," Evanosky said.

"We just go hard, all the time, try to be patient, try not to force things and be fundamentally sound."

That formula has paid off with a No. 19 area ranking and an 11-0 overall record (3-0 against Baltimore County's Division II).

The Gators are seeking the school's first boys basketball title since 1984.

"Teachers are telling me, and the word around the water cooler is that this school hasn't seen this many boys basketball wins in a number of years," said Evanosky, 26, who was an assistant last season to Eastern Tech's Todd Wade.

"Our goals at the beginning of the season were simply to win more games than we did last season.

"But now that we've done that, it's a reasonable goal to go after teams with better reputations and who are ranked ahead of us."

A freshman history teacher at Perry Hall, Evanosky said he inherited a program that had won its final six games last season to finish at 10-10 after a 1-4 start.

"There was potential. There was athletic ability, but I don't think the players had been really drilled in the fundamentals of the game," Evanosky said.

"I like to stress a lot of defense, the fundamentals. Like, coming off the screen well, positioning yourself for a good shot, playing hard all the way through."

Senior Jade Belt, a 6-6 center, is averaging nearly eight points and six rebounds. Evanosky calls 6-3 guard/forward Curtis Crass and 6-2 guard Scott Dufel his defensive specialists. They average seven and four points, respectively, but there's no measuring how far their hustle has taken the Gators.

"Not having a lot of tall players, we've stressed fronting the post a lot, denying that first pass, getting a lot of help-side defense," Evanosky said. "And if that first pass is a lob, well, somebody's just got to be there."

And it's not like the Gators are going to dazzle anyone offensively.

Senior Dale Seward, a 6-3 swingman, is the team's top scorer and rebounder with 18 points and nine rebounds per game. Junior point guard Jaron Taylor is next, averaging 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Then there's Chris Middlecamp, a senior "who was cut from the team the previous three seasons," according to Evanosky, and Calvert Hall transfer Jason Burris, a 6-2 sophomore defensive standout.

Middlecamp is "averaging eight points, and he handles the ball real well," Evanosky said. "He had his best game, scoring, against Woodlawn, with 15 points, and he really took care of the ball against Catonsville."

Burris keyed the Gators' zone defense against City, which boasts one of the area's premier players in Todd Galloway.

The remaining members on the Gators' 11-player roster are guards Aaron McKoy, Bobby Munroe, Gerald Imes and Brad Trentzsch.

The Gators' biggest wins this season, according to Evanosky, have come against Baltimore City stalwart City College in the semifinals of the Parkville Christmas tournament, over Baltimore County power Woodlawn on Jan. 28, and last week's upset of Catonsville.

In defeating the Comets, Perry Hall handled a program that returned eight players from a squad that went 15-0 in county play before losing the county title game by a point to Woodlawn, and a subsequent first-round playoff defeat against Parkville.

"I believe that the turning point in our season was beating Catonsville and Woodlawn. It's what got us recognized and it's what got us ranked," Seward said. "Our initial goal was to win more games than the 10 we won last year, but now, it's to win the county championship."

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