The top-ranked Southern boys basketball team, ranked No. 7 nationally by USA Today, will face second-ranked Willowridge of Sugar Land, Texas, at 9:30 Thursday night in its first game of the prestigious eight-team Slam Dunk To The Beach basketball tournament at Cape Henlopen High in Lewes, Del.
The winner, on Friday, will play the victor of an earlier quarterfinal between 24th-ranked St. Jude of Alabama and 20th-ranked Dominguez of Compton, Cal.
Should the Bulldogs go 2-0, they would reach Saturday's title game against the survivor of the bracket's other side: That will be either third-ranked St. Patrick of New Jersey, sixth-ranked Berkmar of Georgia, 11th-ranked Midwest City of Oklahoma or 15th-ranked Rice of New York.
Southern coach Meredith Smith, whose Bulldogs have won three state titles this decade, calls the tournament "Maybe the biggest thing we've been involved in since we were No. 4 in the nation and beat No. 1-ranked St. Rice" in the Charm City Classic in 1993.
In 1995, Southern went 2-0 to win the Slam Dunk's Power Series.
Second-ranked Towson Catholic, unranked nationally, will compete in the event's Tommy Jacobs Memorial game Tuesday against Abraham Lincoln of New York, and on Wednesday in the Tip-Off Classic against Paul VI of Virginia.
Roland Park's No. 1 squash player, junior Katie Peck, is off to a blistering start, winning her first two matches over players who beat her twice last season.
Peck opened with a 3-0 victory over Madiera's Lala Walla, as she and her Reds teammates swept the Virginia team, 9-0. On Wednesday, Peck edged Bryn Mawr's Corey Warfield, the under-17 Maryland state champion, 3-2, as part of a 7-2 team victory.
"Katie beat the top player in Baltimore and the top player in D.C. within two weeks," Reds coach Clarke Griffin said. "These girls both beat her twice last year, so that is Herculean to me. If I can convince her she's as good as she really is, there's no stopping her."
Peck's teammates Jessica Winicki, Lauren Burd, Cassie Harvey, Kinsey Morrison, Alexis Paskert and Betsy Griffin are also unbeaten, while Kendell Anders and Erin Lacy won their matches against Madiera.
Staying above water
John Carroll's Harford County champion swim team picked up right where it left off last season, winning its first meet. The Patriots scored 254 points Thursday night to turn back North Harford (209) and Havre de Grace (146) at Magnolia Middle School.
The Patriots won 11 events but also piled up the points with their depth.
Chiarra Fortunato was the only dual winner for the Patriots, taking the 100- and 200-yard freestyle events. Other John Carroll winners were Catherine Fortunato and Matt Ullman in the 50 free, Audrey McDonough and Tim Andone in the 500 free and John Kearby in the 100 breaststroke.
The Patriots also took four relay events - Catherine Fotunato, Maggie Dannenfelser, Lauren Betzing and Lauren Bradley in the 200 medley; Chiarra Fortunato, Chantel Buchser, Betzing and Bradley in the 200 freestyle; Betzing, Buchser, McDonough and Tiffany Blair in the 400 free; and Ullman, Kearby, Joe Brusak and Bill Stewart in the boys 200 free.
North Harford had three double winners - Ashley Husich in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, Abby Zerhusen in the 200 individual medley and 100 breast stroke and Nick Mezzanotte in the 200 IM and the 100 back.
Shootout aids charities
Last weekend's Sherry Shootout girls basketball tournament at Bryn Mawr raised more than $1,700 for two local organizations.
The tournament was held in memory of Paul Sherry, a long-time Towson Recreation Council coach, who died of cancer in November 1999 at the age of 47. Two of Sherry's daughters currently attend Bryn Mawr, where his oldest daughter Theresa graduated in June.
Through sponsorship by local businesses, the tournament raised $1,000 for the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson, where Sherry spent his final days. Proceeds from the gate, concessions and T-shirt sales are expected garner more than $700, said Bryn Mawr coach Jim "Snuffy" Smith, and that money will be donated to the TRC girls programs.