Week-long layoff, schedule juggling leave no one happy

Coaches, administrators work to get back on track

Notebook

High Schools

February 23, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

For Fallston girls' basketball co-coach Alice Puckett, the past week provided a rare in-season opportunity to catch up on some family time, along with more hours in front of the TV watching game film.

C. Milton Wright athletic director Jim McNicholas spent much of the week on the phone, keeping coaches and officials abreast of postponements and cancellations.

Harford supervisor of athletics Forest Wiest did a little of everything, and said none of it was easy.

The record snowfall, which wiped out the entire school week and approximately 30 county games or matches, forced administrators, athletic directors, coaches and athletes into a waiting game, and left some irritated and more than a little anxious.

"It was all just very hectic," said Wiest, who switched the county wrestling championships to Tuesday and Wednesday at C. Milton Wright. The two-day tournament was initially scheduled to conclude yesterday.

"Anytime you get weather like this and all these cancellations, no matter how you do it, some teams are going to be unhappy."

With the postseason tournaments in basketball and wrestling getting under way later this week, and with regional seedings being done today - rendering many cancellations meaningless - Wiest said some of the postponements will not be made up.

"It's kind of irritating because you're coming down the stretch, playing for a county championship and you're anxious to get back into it," said Puckett, who coaches the Cougars along with Vernon Brown. "The fundaments - the passing and shooting - are the question marks, but we're in the same boat as everyone else."

Most basketball and wrestling teams returned to practice yesterday. The county basketball schedule resumes Tuesday on what was supposed to be the last day of the regular season. However, tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday are being targeted as possible make-up dates if athletic directors so choose.

The key girls' basketball game between Fallston and C. Milton Wright, two teams separated by a half-game for first place, has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. at C. Milton Wright. It was originally scheduled for Tuesday night, but that conflicts with the county wrestling tournament at the school.

The Mustangs also have a make-up game with Bel Air set for tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

In boys' basketball, Aberdeen and Edgewood will renew their rivalry on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Edgewood after their game at Harford Tech this past week was postponed. The first-place Eagles, who will also play North Harford on Tuesday, may still make up their game with Havre de Grace later this week depending on the Warriors' regional tournament schedule.

The cancellations may have affected wrestling the most. With the county tournament being moved to Tuesday and Wednesday, that meant teams had only two practices (yesterday and Monday) to prepare for the counties and then only one day - Thursday - to prepare for Friday's regionals.

"It's going to be tough because you have guys that are used to wrestling all week long to maintain their weight and some of the guys have been inactive for a week," said Edgewood coach Darin Bokeno, who also said that there will be a two-pound weight allowance for the county championships.

"And like with everything else, you get a little rusty. I think probably all the teams will be a little bit rustier."

Getting his due

Before his team's game against North Harford earlier this month, C. Milton Wright basketball guard Zach O'Hare discussed all the aspects of his game that needed improvement: foul shooting, defense and creating shots off the dribble.

Then he acknowledged what many county coaches already knew: "I think I'm having a pretty good season," said the 6-foot-1 junior, who is averaging about 17 points a game and is one of the county's top scorers. "I've gotten more looks than I thought I would."

Perhaps that's because O'Hare was a reserve last year, scoring only about five points a game. But given the green light by coach Paul Perkovich, the lefty with the smooth shooting stroke has emerged as the Mustangs' prime scoring threat.

Considered a streaky shooter by his coach, O'Hare has a couple of 30-point games to his credit and has shown the ability to carry his team offensively for stretches.

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