Three county basketball teams ranked among Maryland's best

Owls boys, North Carroll, Key girls make top 10s

Notebook

High School

January 21, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Slowly but surely, Carroll County basketball is gaining statewide recognition.

Three schools were included in the Maryland high school basketball poll, which is compiled by the Associated Press and was released Monday.

Topping the lists are the Westminster boys, who are ranked 13th overall. The Owls (11-1 overall, 5-0 Central Maryland Conference) are ranked fifth among Class 4A schools and haven't lost since a 60-54 setback to Fallston on Dec. 14.

North Carroll's girls (11-2, 4-1) are No. 7 among Class 3A schools. The Panthers' 11-game winning streak ended Tuesday with a 78-48 loss to Linganore, ranked third among Class 2A schools.

Francis Scott Key's girls are ranked ninth among Class 2A schools. The Eagles (9-4, 8-1 Monocacy Valley Athletic League) suffered their only conference loss to Middletown, which sits in the No. 8 spot.

All three teams put their rankings on the line at 7 tonight. Francis Scott Key plays host to Boonsboro, North Carroll welcomes Liberty, and Westminster travels to South Carroll.

Cavs get academic award

For the second year in a row, the South Carroll girls soccer team was one of 156 recipients of a national academic award presented by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America at its annual convention in Baltimore.

Coached by Jim Horn, the Cavaliers' 1998 squad received the NSCAA/Adidas high school team academic award for accumulating a 3.98 (out of 4.0) grade-point average. South Carroll finished 9-5-1 that season.

Only three other girls teams had higher grade-point averages than South Carroll's, none from Maryland.

The award is based on the academic performance of a team during the previous school year. Eligibility is based on a minimum grade-point average of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale, and the calculation must include all players appearing on the varsity roster during the season.

Panthers get boost on mat

If a certain ESPN college basketball analyst had been present at Wednesday's North Carroll-Westminster wrestling meet, he might have crowned the Owls' Zach Watkins as a "diaper dandy."

Wrestling in his first varsity start, the junior 160-pounder shouldered North Carroll's Keith Viens at the 2: 26 mark. Watkins completed the pin despite trailing Viens, 4-2, and using the wrong technique.

Watkins tried a wrist roll, and, instead of going to the elbow, he went to the shoulder -- a move that could have been countered by a half-nelson, said Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich.

"As he hit the move to pin the guy, I was wincing," Mohlhenrich said. "It was an `Oh, no, oh, no' into a `Yes, yes, yes.'"

Watkins, a JV second-stringer, would not have been promoted to the varsity level, except that JV starter Sean Finch was sick and missed Tuesday's practice.

Watkins, who was subbing for Nick Burger (sore knee), knew he hadn't correctly executed the move, but he had told his teammates that he would get the pin.

"I knew that I needed to get back," said Watkins. "I just squeezed on his arm and pulled back on his head, and it worked."

Team captain and 152-pounder Jon Burger said the junior's pin energized the Owls.

"That was a major boost for the team," he said. "He came in here with no notice at all and pulled through for us."

Wrestler Price returns

Senior heavyweight wrestler Mike Price has returned to Bowling Brook after a 12-day suspension.

Since Jan. 6, Price, who was 15-1 at the time, has not been allowed to practice or compete with the team. Thoroughbreds coach Jim Tavenner said Wednesday that the coaching staff lifted the suspension after talking with Price again.

"He needed to address some attitudinal things," Tavenner said of his star wrestler, who went 24-5 last season and placed fifth at the states last season. "This gave him some time to work those things out. He worked real hard to get back on the team."

Price celebrated his return by securing his 16th win of the season against Frederick on Tuesday.

In other places

The swimming showdown between Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland unbeatens Notre Dame Prep and McDonogh has been rescheduled for this afternoon. The meet, snowed out yesterday, is to begin at 3: 45 at McDonogh.

River Hill senior soccer player Natalie Klisas, The Sun's Howard County co-Player of the Year, has orally committed to a scholarship offer from Towson University.

The inaugural Baltimore City vs. Baltimore County all-star basketball games will be held Friday, March 17, at CCBC-Essex. The event, slated to take place one week after the March 9-11 state basketball finals for boys and girls, will feature a girls game beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a boys game at 8.

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