All-howard County


March 19, 2003|By RICK BELZ


Shawn Velazquez

Mount Hebron, senior

High SchoolsA transfer from Hopkinton, Mass., Velazquez stood out with his court vision, leaping ability and exceptional defense, and he wasn't afraid to make a physical sacrifice. At 6 feet, 185 pounds, he took six charges in a playoff game against Friendly. He suffered a concussion taking a charge against Long Reach and missed the next game.

"He always played 100 percent," said Vikings coach Mike Linsenmeyer. "He was unselfish and let the game come to him. The charges he took changed the momentum of games."

But most people will remember him for his scoring. Velazquez scored 1,075 career points. In an 82-72 upset of Long Reach, he scored 34 points, had five rebounds, four steals and made four three-pointers. In a 66-59 win over Atholton, he scored 27 points and had five three-pointers. "Early in the season, people doubted me, so I had something to prove," Velazquez said.

He averaged 18 points, seven rebounds, three steals and 4.5 assists. He has a 3.4 grade-point average and is interested in attending Allegany Community College. He was selected to play in the Charm City Classic.


Mike Linsenmeyer

Mount Hebron

The No. 13 Vikings showed a big improvement from a 12-11 season a year ago. They went 18-4, produced a 15-game winning streak and won their first county title (going 15-1) since 1994.

The second-year Vikings basketball coach, 30, faced setbacks before the season even began, as his leading scorer graduated, his best rebounder was ineligible and his best returning player transferred.

Overcoming the team's lack of height was his biggest challenge, and he did that by emphasizing boxing out and help-side defense.

"I knew that we were probably the most athletic team in the county and that man-to-man defense had to be our strength," he said. "They bought into the system and played good, hard defense that generated points. We played a patient offense with the leadership of [Aaron] Rei-White and [Shawn] Velazquez."

Linsenmeyer, a U.S. history and government teacher for four years at Mount Hebron, played basketball and soccer at Pallotti and at St. Mary's College. He also coaches the varsity soccer team.


Jared Bradford

Long Reach, senior

His explosive first step enabled him to drive past defenders to the basket, and the addition of 15 pounds of upper body muscle in the offseason allowed him to mix it up once he got inside. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound shooting guard averaged 13.3 points while shooting 52 percent from two-point range and 35 percent from three-point range. Extremely quick and a strong defensive player, he averaged 17 points through the first half of the season until opposing teams started playing him with either a box-and-one or triangle-and-two defenses. "He was our captain and a great leader," said Lightning coach Al Moraz. He scored 24 points, had six rebounds and five assists in an 83-62 win over county runner-up River Hill. Bradford was selected to play in the Charm City Classic.

Richie Jackson

River Hill, junior

A team leader and the No. 14 Hawks' most consistent player, the 5-foot-11 point guard could break presses, pass, shoot and drive to the basket with skill and ease. He averaged 10.2 points, 6.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 3.3 steals as one of the most skilled players in the league. His high game was 19 points, six assists and three steals against Glenelg. He also scored 17 points, had seven rebounds and was 5-for-6 at the foul line in a 55-47 win over Atholton. Jackson led the Hawks to a second-place finish (14-3) and a 19-5 overall record.

J.J. Marchany

Glenelg, senior

The 6-foot, 155-pound guard led the Gladiators (14-11) to the 2A West region finals, where they lost to Fort Hill, 49-46, in Cumberland, a game in which he had a career-high 12 rebounds. Glenelg was the only county team to make it that far in the playoffs. Marchany averaged 16.5 points, four assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He was Glenelg's all-time best three-point shooter, hitting a school-record seven against both Oakland Mills and Long Reach. He set a Glenelg single-season record with 58 three-pointers and a school record with 104 for his career. He also broke a school single-game record by scoring 36 points against Oakland Mills. His 278 career assists ranks second all-time at Glenelg. He is interested in attending Morgan State.

Micah Mbah

Atholton, senior

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