Upsets cloud IAAM `A' title picture

Only No. 1 Seton Keough keeps pace in close race

Basketball notebook

February 03, 2002|By Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield | Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

With just one week until the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland basketball tournaments begin, the A Conference race is becoming even more wide-open than expected.

For most of the season, as many as nine teams seemed capable of taking the crown, but in the last week, it seems that any team might emerge from the Feb. 16 tournament finale with the trophy.

While there have been a host of recent upsets, two games in the last week show just how close the race has become.

Sunday, Mount de Sales led No. 1 Seton Keough 11-7 at the half. Nicole Holtman's three-point shooting kept Mount de Sales close late in the game before Seton Keough pulled out a 32-27 victory. Wednesday, Notre Dame Prep, which had not won a conference game all season, upset Mount de Sales, 42-33, behind 14 points from Amanda Alrich.

"It's crazy," said NDP coach Jeff Worthington. "If you don't come to play, any team can beat you. We play Seton Keough [today] and Spalding [tomorrow]. Maybe we can really mess things up."

There have been upsets galore in the last week. Some notable ones: unranked John Carroll over No. 5 McDonogh and over No. 17 Roland Park; No. 11 Institute of Notre Dame over No. 2 St. Frances and over No. 3 Archbishop Spalding; No. 18 Bryn Mawr over No. 13 St. Mary's; and McDonogh over No. 4 Mercy.

The only team holding its ground this week was Seton Keough, which has won 10 straight conference games, but that doesn't mean the Gators aren't wary.

"Anybody in this league can beat anybody. It's been that way all year," said Gators coach Jackie Boswell. "We just have to focus the rest of the season on playing our game."

The conference has two divisions. St. Frances (12-2) heads its half, followed by McDonogh (9-5), Mercy (8-6), IND (8-6), Roland Park (6-8) and John Carroll (3-11). In the other division, Seton Keough (11-2) leads Spalding (10-4), Bryn Mawr (7-7) St. Mary's (5-9), Mount de Sales (3-11) and NDP (1-12).

County not so close

With three league games to go, the Baltimore County girls divisional races certainly are not over, but they do seem to be settling down.

Defending champion Catonsville and Parkville are ahead approaching the stretch run to the Feb. 15 county title game.

Catonsville's 58-45 win over Woodlawn on Wednesday gives the No. 7 Comets a two-game lead over the Warriors in the Division II race. The defending champion Comets are unbeaten in the division at 11-0, while the Warriors are 9-2, with both losses to the Comets.

In Division I, the Knights slipped past No. 20 Milford Mill for the second this season, 59-56 in overtime Wednesday, to take sole possession of first place. The Knights, who dropped their only division game to Towson, are 10-1 and the Millers, 9-2.

Parkville faces a rematch with Towson (8-3) Wednesday, but the Knights would have to lose twice to cede the division title. If the Knights and the Millers finish with identical league records, the Knights would advance to the county championship based on the first tiebreaker - head-to-head competition.

Down to the wire

The race on the boys' side in Baltimore County basketball is coming to a close, with No. 4 and defending Class 3A state champion Randallstown (18-0) appearing to be the favorite to repeat.

The Rams are out in front in Division I with an 11-0 record, followed in the eight-team division by Milford Mill (9-1 league) and Dulaney (8-3).

The Rams, led by do-everything swingman Levi Stukes, visit Dulaney on Wednesday before playing host to Milford Mill on Friday.

In Division II, Woodlawn (10-4, 9-2 league) is out in front, but Eastern Tech and Catonsville are within striking distance with identical 8-3 records in the division.

Catonsville (12-7 overall), ranked 17th in the area, defeated Woodlawn last week and is in good position to share the top spot with games at struggling Perry Hall (3-8 league) on Wednesday and at Lansdowne (5-6) on Friday.

On Wednesday, Woodlawn is at last-place Hereford (1-9 league) while Eastern Tech has a difficult game at fourth-place Franklin (7-4). Woodlawn is at Eastern Tech on Friday.

The division winners will meet in the county title game on Feb. 15 at a site to be determined.

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