Coming soon, maybe: The day of the North County Knights


February 09, 2000|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Finally, it could be Knights time in boys basketball.

With Monday's 81-69 victory at 19th-ranked Meade, North County's first ever over the Mustangs, the Knights took over second place in the Anne Arundel County boys basketball race.

The No. 16 Knights now control their own destiny for a chance to play in their first county championship game, on Feb. 22.

"After our loss in Annapolis [69-54 on Jan. 24], we said in the locker room that we've got to do it ourselves if we want to reach that goal," said North County coach Mike Francis.

Going into Monday night, North County (12-5 overall) was tied for second with Meade and Severna Park, but as the Knights were beating the Mustangs, Severna Park was getting ripped, 81-63, at No. 1 Annapolis (17-0).

The results left Annapolis in first at 12-0, followed by 10-2 North County, with Meade (11-6 overall) and Severna Park (12-5 overall) third at 9-3 each and hoping the Knights lose one during the last two weeks.

Three of the four games left on North County's regular-season schedule are at home in Ferndale, with a short trip to Glen Burnie (9-8, 7-5), the only one of the four foes with a winning record.

North County plays Northeast (7-10, 4-8) tonight, Glen Burnie Friday, and next week will play host to Old Mill (7-9, 6-6) and Chesapeake (4-13, 1-11) Tuesday and Friday.

With the balance the Knights have displayed over the last couple weeks, a loss is not likely. Headliners Jerome Goodman and Mark Jennings are getting a lot of help from Chuck Willis, sophomores Kevin Hammack, Corey Bowie and Greg Scott and senior Bryan Hall.

Hall took scoring honors with 19 points at Meade.

"That's the way it's been going for us, somebody different every night, and our guys have a bit of a swagger now on the court," said Francis.

North County also forged ahead of the Mustangs and Falcons into second place in the Class 4A East region behind No. 15 Westminster (14-2). The top four seeds gain first-round byes in the region tournaments and home-court advantage in the quarterfinals.

"The players are shooting for the county championship game, but I want the region title," said Francis. "The team attitude is the best it has been all season, and they believe they're going to win when they play."

Four of the Knights' five overall losses count in the region seedings, but all five were to quality teams, four ranked in The Sun's Top 20. The loss that doesn't count was in a holiday tournament, to Duval (11-5), a top Class 3A Prince George's County team.

The four losses that do count were to No. 2 and then-No. 1 Towson Catholic (21-5), No. 8 St. Frances (14-5), then-No. 12 Meade, and top-ranked Annapolis.

"The tough schedule is paying off, even though we lost those games," said Francis.

Tiger football for Galloway

Jason Galloway, Old Mill's three-sport standout, orally committed Monday night to play football at Division I-AA Towson University.

Galloway, an All-County baseball outfielder last spring and an All-County defensive back/wide receiver for the Patriots last fall, will play only football for the Tigers.

Coach Gordie Combs and his Tigers like Galloway as a wide receiver. Galloway likes the future of the Tigers, who were 7-4 last fall.

"They throw the football, play a wide-open offense, and I like that," said Galloway, a 5-foot-11, 170 pounder. "I liked everything about Towson and their coaches, and they're going to have a new stadium in two years. It's pretty exciting."

Galloway set Old Mill season records in receptions (40), yards receiving (707) and touchdown catches (12) in eight games last fall before a knee injury. The knee injury kept him out of the Patriots' first playoff game in nearly 10 seasons but has healed.

His determination in rehabilitation enabled him to return a lot sooner than expected and take his starting guard position on Old Mill's basketball team.

This past weekend, Galloway visited Division I Wagner College on Staten Island, N.Y., which was interested in him for baseball.

"Baseball coaches have not been knocking my door down, and I really want to play football," said Galloway. "Once I establish myself at Towson, maybe I can play baseball again."

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

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