The Baltimore Catholic League and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference have merged to hold one postseason tournament.
Under the plan, McDonogh will play in the 31st BCL tournament with eight other Catholic teams.
McDonogh is the only member of the A Conference that is also a member of the BCL.
BCL commissioner Jack Degele and MIAA executive director Rick Diggs agreed on declaring the winner as both the BCL and A Conference champion unless St. Maria Goretti of Hagerstown prevails.
FOR THE RECORD - Because of an editing error in yesterday's high school winter sports preview section, McDonogh was incorrectly reported to be a member of the Baltimore Catholic League in boys basketball. The incorrect sentence should have read that McDonogh is the only member of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference that is not also a member of the Baltimore Catholic League. The Sun regrets the error.
If the Gaels win (as they did last year), they would be the BCL champion and the runner-up would be declared A Conference champion.
The BCL sends its champion to the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitation Tournament in Cumberland in March. Goretti, runner-up Towson Catholic and third-place Mount St. Joseph all got bids last season.
If McDonogh wins the tournament, the Eagles would not go to Alhambra. In that scenario, the runner-up would qualify only if it was also the regular-season champion.
"We would have a playoff between the two unless the Alhambra gives us two berths," Degele said.
For years, when the seven BCL teams played each other, the result counted separately in the BCL and MIAA standings. When Goretti gave the BCL an eighth team, games against the Gaels counted for the BCL only.
McDonogh was promoted to the A Conference last year, but its games with BCL teams counted only in the MIAA. Now the Eagles' games will count for both, and they will play Goretti home and away.
The BCL tournament is set for Feb. 22-25 at Goucher College.
With the transfer of second-team All-Metro guard Gary Neal from Aberdeen to Calvert Hall, BCL coaches expect the Cardinals and Archbishop Spalding to challenge top-ranked Towson Catholic and Goretti in the BCL. ... Cardinal Gibbons' newly named Ray Mullis Gym, after the late coach who won a metro-area-best 620 times, will play host to national power DeMatha at 7 tonight. ... Bob Slagle has retired as Edgewood coach. He led the Rams to the 1A state title in 1997, two other finals in seven state appearances over the past 10 years and a 252-115 record in 15 seasons. Tony Cole, longtime Aberdeen assistant, replaces Slagle. Among Cole's players is transfer guard Tyson Lesesne, who averaged 16.1 points and 4.1 assists for Dundalk last season. ...
All-Metro guard Marshall Strickland, who has declared to Indiana, is attending South Carroll, but his four years of eligibility have been exhausted, according to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. Strickland is appealing in court. ... Eric Breland, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound senior who was All-Howard County as a sophomore, is back at Glenelg after a year of academic ineligibility. Breland, River Hill's 6-10 Kevin Steenberge and 6-6, 250-pound transfer Josh Wheeler of Hammond offer intriguing Howard County matchups. ... Billy Brudis, a 6-3 senior forward, is back to lead defending Howard County champion Centennial. ...
Michael Dukes, a former player at Southern-Baltimore and Towson University, is coach of Baltimore's first-year Southside Academy Jaguars, who play host to Southwestern in their inaugural home game Dec. 11. ... With their gym being renovated, the Mervo Warriors are truly the "road warriors," playing all of their games away from home. ... East Baltimore's St. Frances will open its new 900-seat gym in mid-January after 10 years of playing its designated home games at the old University of Baltimore gym or Reitz Arena. "We don't have to be gypsies anymore," coach William Wells said. ... Eastern Tech has won 23 straight home games since losing to Pikesville in December 1999. ...
Spalding coach Mike Glick is excited about his new senior point guard, Landy Thompson. Thompson (6-1) transferred to Spalding after Newport Prep closed and is considered by some scouts to be the top unsigned point guard in the region. ... Tank Duckett has returned to Severn School as athletic director and boys basketball coach. Duckett coached the Admirals two seasons from 1995 to 1997, going 19-5 in '97 as the MIAA B Conference runner-up and 33-19 overall. His work schedule had forced him to step down.
Sun staff writers Kevin Van Valkenburg and Rick Belz and contributing writers Derek Toney and Rich Scherr contributed to this article.