Glen Burnie's boys basketball team is 10-0, but while the Gophers are the talk of the county, not everybody is convinced they are for "real." And coach Mike Rudd knows it.
"There are teams still out there who don't think we're the real thing," Rudd said after his 14th-ranked Gophers took a 63-60 overtime decision at No. 18 Southern (6-4) of Harwood on Friday night.
The 10-0 start is the best for Glen Burnie since 1961.
Annapolis became the county's first boys team to go undefeated in the regular season at 22-0 last year. So, could Glen Burnie also run the table?
"They're a good ballclub, veterans and experienced. But you might throw in the fact when considering this [how good they are] - they caught Meade with Doug Underwood sitting on the bench about three quarters of the game," said Southern coach Tom Albright, the dean of metro coaches in his 36th season.
"And they caught me tonight without Adrian [Gross]. A lot of things have to fall your way to go through one of those seasons [undefeated]. It's a long season."
Underwood, Meade's leading scorer, and teammate Justin Ward sat the first three periods of Meade's Christmas tournament final, and Glen Burnie knocked off the No. 15 Mustangs, 73-66. Underwood and Ward were suspended for missing a shoot-around.
Gross, the Bulldogs' standout 6-foot-4 sophomore center, missed the Glen Burnie game with a badly sprained ankle that will be X-rayed tomorrow.
Gross injured the ankle in Thursday's practice, and his inside game was sorely missed, although 6-3 sophomore Matt Hall scored six of his eight points in overtime for the Bulldogs.
Rudd knows his team is the county's most wanted.
After the Southern victory, Glen Burnie's Ray Cromwell was already thinking about Friday's rematch at Meade (8-2), which comes after Tuesday's game against host Broadneck (1-10).
"We got a tough one next Friday against Meade, but we got a chance," Cromwell said.
"This [Southern] win helps us because we stopped playing hard, let up and thought we had it," he said, referring to Glen Burnie's letdown after leading Southern 37-24. "Now we know we have to play hard, no matter what."
Cromwell and fellow 6-3 juniors Keith Williams and Shon Osborne are the Gophers' marquee players, but what has made them so good is their depth with role players such as seniors Casey McCormick, Matt McCormick and Matt Blick.
The 5-8 Casey McCormick had only one point in the Southern win, but had eight rebounds, four assists and several steals.
"Casey does all the little things and has a knack for making big plays," Rudd said. "He guards the other team's best player and makes us go."
The 6-3 Matt McCormick contributed four rebounds Friday, while the 5-10 Blick made four threes, his last one in overtime, and scored 14 points off the bench.
"Maybe the coach should have had him in there sooner," laughed Rudd, an ex-Glen Burnie player who assisted his former coach, Terry Bogle, for 10 seasons before succeeding him in 1996.
In an interesting game Tuesday, No. 7 Annapolis (9-1) travels to face a surging South River team (7-4), a 60-59 winner at slumping Severna Park (5-5) on Friday. South River was 1-22 last year, 3-17 the year before and has not had a winning season under coach Ken B. Dunn since 1998 (12-11). ... Severna Park's Jon Garritt continues to be a bright spot in the Falcons' disappointing season, scoring a game-high 28 points against South River after tossing in 25 in Wednesday's 67-62 loss at Annapolis. ... The Chesapeake boys (6-4), under rookie coach Doug Sisson, matched last year's win total (6-17) with a 61-56 victory at North County (2-8) on Friday.
Broadneck's Jayson Jennings, The Sun's All-County shortstop last spring after setting a school-record batting average (.456), is headed to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., Jan. 12-14 for the Baseball Factory showcase of top seniors.
Have a note for Sidelines? E-mail email@example.com or call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.