Arundel's senior stars are spark for team's joy ride to College Park

Coach says foursome `focused on going distance'

Boys basketball notebook

March 08, 2001

Familiarity and togetherness motivate the No. 12 Arundel boys basketball team as it seeks the school's second state title.

Sam Golder has been the only coach the Wildcats' four key seniors have had in high school. He coached the Arundel junior varsity for two seasons, going 36-4 overall, before taking over the varsity last season. Arundel went 10-15 last season, then kept showing signs of making a move this season before putting it all together in the Class 4A East Region.

"We have a motivated, senior-laden team that doesn't want this season to end," Golder said.

Seniors Rodney Spriggs, Paul D'Imperio, Derek Hardin and Jon Donnelly are the team's heart and soul who have grown up together along with their coach.

"They know that as soon as we lose, it's all over," Golder said. "They are focused on going the distance."

The Wildcats earned their way to Cole Field House by marching through their highly competitive region. Most thought the region would be won by county runner-up Glen Burnie or Meade, the defending region champion.

But after disposing of North County, 64-56, in the quarterfinals, Arundel stunned Glen Burnie, 54-52, in the semifinals on the Gophers' home court, then traveled to Harford County, where it won at C. Milton Wright, 64-47.

"These guys love playing together," Golder said. "Saying goodbye, whenever it happens, won't be easy." -- Pat O'Malley

No seniority for Scorpions

Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby will be making his eighth state tournament appearance tomorrow against Pikesville. But even he admits he is surprised to have come this far.

The Scorpions, whose best player, Lester Jones, was dismissed for disciplinary reasons after the first two weeks of the season, have no seniors.

"We've been a work in progress all year," Appleby said. "As young as we are, it's taken us a long time to play as a team, to develop some leadership. But we're obviously not a finished product. There's going to be some assembly required."

If Oakland Mills puts a scare in Pikesville, it likely will like be because its main scorer, Varnez Nicholson, has a big game. Nicholson's last-second jumper lifted the Scorpions over Glenelg, 52-50, in the region final, but he shot only 3-for-11 from the floor. -- Kevin Van Valkenburg

Pikesville on the rise

Pikesville has no problem scoring points. Against Catonsville in January, the Panthers lost one of the highest-scoring games of the season, 115-111, after Catonsville made 23 of 46 three-pointers.

"That was just one of those games where we played a team that couldn't miss," said Panthers coach Paul Smith. "They made a lot of threes and we made a lot of twos. I don't think that game is reflective of the rest of our season. We've come along well. We're better now than we were in January, and we were better in January than we were in December."

Smith expects big things from leading scorer Clement Sorgho, a 6-foot-4 Division I prospect who has turned down several offers to play college football. Sorgho, who averages 17.1 points, has yet to get a concrete offer from several mid-major schools.

Smith said Sorgho hopes to play well and use the tournament as a springboard to solidify the interest of several college programs. -- Kevin Van Valkenburg

Poets back in the hunt

Six-time state champion Dunbar is in its eighth final four, but did not qualify last year after being upset by Edmondson in the Class 2A North Region title game.

The Poets, whose 19-game winning streak includes two victories over former No. 1 Southern -- one in the city title game -- have no players who started on their 1999 championship team.

"I played for maybe about 10 minutes, and Steve [Miller] maybe had the most minutes next," said Dunbar guard Kenny Minor, a senior.

The Poets, who face Fairmont Heights tomorrow, are led by first-year coach Eric Lee, but the players are familiar with him.

"A lot of us had already been adapted to Coach Lee, since he was the assistant coach and had the majority of us on JV," Minor said. "We'll just have to play as hard as we have all year." -- Lem Satterfield

Pulling second string

Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried calls it "the season, Part II." And during this second season, Harried said he's going to rely as much on his second string as the first.

He'll depend on guys like guard Ronald Bey, 6-5 forward Dennis Lindsey, 6-7 center Kyle Garrison, George Carter, Corey Hargrove and Nicholas Pearson.

"They are guys who don't normally get the press, but guys who sweat just as much and work just as hard as the starters," said Harried, whose No. 2 Lakers play Eleanor Roosevelt in tonight's Class 4A state semifinals.

Harried's credo, one that he said was key to the Lakers' Class 4A state title victory over Oxon Hill in 1999, is simply "to play hard and smart." And for the fourth-year coach, that often entails rotating his players and going to his bench early and often.

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