The girls basketball season is still young, but the top teams in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference already share something they'd rather not.
All of them have been upset at least once, including No. 4 Roland Park's 56-39 win at No. 1 St. Frances, the defending A Conference champions who had been a heavy favorite to go unbeaten in the conference for a second straight season.
Roland Park and No. 10 Institute of Notre Dame have both been upset at Notre Dame Prep. No. 12 Archbishop Spalding lost to No. 15 McDonogh. No. 17 St. Mary's fell to B Conference foe Severn.
Overshadowed by St. Frances' loss on Wednesday was a thrilling 55-52 overtime win for McDonogh over No. 6 Seton Keough. Rachel Braver made the big plays for the Eagles and finished with 23 points.
The 5-foot-11 senior forward hit a shot with less than a second left to send the game into overtime. She then completed a three-point play with eight seconds left to end a 52-52 tie.
And yes, the Eagles have suffered an upset - to St. Mary's.
Van Deusen to retire
River Hill athletic director Don Van Deusen said yesterday that he plans to retire in July, ending his 33-year career with the Howard County school system.
Van Deusen, 58, is retiring so that he can take the position of assistant general manager for the Columbia Association's Fairway Hills and Hobbit's Glen golf courses.
He will finish the school year as athletic director and physical education teacher at River Hill, and work his new job on weekends and evenings.
"I enjoy what I'm doing, but it's exciting to try something new," said Van Deusen, an avid golfer who has served as executive director for the First Tee program at Fairway Hills for two years. First Tee is a national program that offers golf access and learning to children who otherwise would not have access.
Hoops to help
Bryn Mawr and Eastern Tech are combining basketball with the spirit of giving this holiday season.
Proceeds from the 4th annual Sherry Shootout at Bryn Mawr this weekend will be donated to Joyce Green, a Mercy graduate with multiple sclerosis who needs a specially-equipped van.
The girls mixer will kick off tonight with Bryn Mawr vs. Towson Catholic at 4, Mercy vs. No. 14 Catonsville at 5:45 and Roland Park vs. National Cathedral at 7:30. Tomorrow, Roland Park meets Catonsville at 4, with Bryn Mawr vs. National Cathedral at 5:45 and Mercy vs. Towson Catholic at 7:30.
At Eastern Tech Tuesday night, a doubleheader with Dulaney featuring the girls game at 5:15 and the boys at 6:30 will benefit the Children's Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
One of the guys
As a former two-time state champion at Mardela High on the Eastern Shore, Western Tech wrestling coach Ishmael Smith knows a little bit about talent.
And Smith says his 103-pound wrestler has plenty of it.
"The hardest worker in the room, goes after it with aggression, and a leader by example," Smith says of the sophomore, who played JV basketball last year before joining the wrestling team.
"If I had any more kids who worked as hard," Smith says, "we'd be a lot better off."
Her name is Jade Hendricks, and she's the only girl on the Wolverines' squad.
Wins don't come often for first-year wrestlers, but Hendricks (4-4) already has pinned an opponent from Lansdowne in the first period and defeated an opponent from Boys' Latin, 13-7. She has won two matches by forfeit. She has been pinned once, by Mount Hebron's No. 1-ranked Cody Gormley, but her other losses are by decision.
Bryn Mawr senior Andrea Dodrill scored her 1,000th career point last week. The 6-foot-1 All-Metro forward, who led the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference in scoring and rebounding a year ago, hit the milestone on Dec. 5 and now has 1,066 career points.