All-howard County Basketball

High Schools

March 21, 2004|By Rick Belz

BOYS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Mike Smelkinson

Long Reach, senior

Asked to do more scoring this season, the point guard increased his offense and averaged 17.5 points to go with 5.5 assists. He made 51 three-point baskets. Smelkinson's most noteworthy shot - a 20-foot running left-hander - beat Wilde Lake in overtime.

Teams centered their game plans around trying to stop him with box-and-ones and diamond-and-ones. Wilde Lake succeeded in the regional championship game by double-teaming him every time he touched the ball.

Smelkinson, 5 feet 5, 135 pounds, thought his best all-around game was against River Hill when he scored 30 points, had five steals and eight assists and took two charges. He will attend Division II California (Pa.) on a basketball scholarship.

The three-time, first-team All-County player is Long Reach's all-time leading scorer with 1,057 points. The Lightning won 56 games during his three-year tenure as point guard, including its first unshared county title this season.

BOYS COACH OF THE YEAR

Al Moraz

Long Reach

After 37 years of coaching, Moraz, 59, still gets excited about basketball, and it clearly shows through his demeanor before, during and after games. He demands discipline from his players, whether it be showing up on time or respecting opponents.

His teams have also enjoyed much success. This year's county championship squad finished 19-5 and ranked No. 20 and lost to Wilde Lake in the regional championship game. In his eight seasons at Long Reach his teams have averaged 15.5 wins. They have won two county titles, one region title and lost in the state finals in 1997.

Moraz came to Long Reach when it opened, leaving behind a 10-year stint at Hammond where he was an assistant coach for either his son's or daughter's teams most of that time.

BOYS FIRST TEAM

Rogers Barnes

River Hill, senior

The two-year varsity starter blossomed this season after the Hawks went to an up-tempo style. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound forward/guard led the team in scoring (14.1 points), rebounding (7.1) and steals (4.1) and was second in assists (3.2). He was also his team's best defensive player and usually guarded the opposing team's top offensive threat. Barnes scored a season-high 29 against Hammond. He added 15 pounds of muscle since his junior year through weightlifting, and improved his shooting range. He was a 73.2-percent free throw-shooter and shot 46.5 percent from the field.

Dallas Davidson

Glenelg, senior

The largest, most muscular player in the league at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, Davidson used his size wisely and had the ability to dominate inside. The center averaged 12.1 points and 6.7 rebounds while blocking 62 shots - 48 in the last 10 games of the season. He blocked eight shots and had 13 rebounds and 18 points against Howard, and blocked six shots with 10 rebounds and 16 points against Atholton. His season ended prematurely in the playoff opener against Reservoir when he injured his ankle.

Brandon Graham

Wilde Lake, senior

Graham, 6 feet 2 and 175 pounds, was able to compete against the best, something he proved by scoring 18 points in the regional championship game against a much taller Gwynn Park squad that dominated the Wildecats. He averaged 16.8 points, four rebounds, two steals and 1.5 assists in leading the Wildecats to one of their finest seasons at 19-6. In playoff game against Centennial that the Wildecats led 28-25 at halftime, Graham, a three-year varsity starter with great quickness, took charge by scoring 12 third-quarter points and eight more in the fourth quarter. He scored 28 points against Howard and 25 against Annapolis.

Richie Jackson

River Hill, senior

He started 68 games in a row at point guard over a three-year varsity career and the Hawks won 52 of those games. A repeat first-team All-County performer, the slick 5-foot-10, 165-pound playmaker averaged 12.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.5 steals while leading the Hawks to a three-way, second-place tie in the league. His best game was against Oakland Mills when he scored 24 points with seven assists and six steals. Jackson can drive to the basket or shoot from outside, but his most important contribution was running the offense.

Ron Mann

Howard, senior

He transferred to Howard from New Jersey for his junior year and quickly established himself as a potent offensive threat. Quick, aggressive and a good jumper, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound muscular guard/forward averaged 17.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals this season. One of Howard's hardest workers in practice, Mann ran the floor well and often provided an offensive spark. Teams concentrated on him and he responded by playing with even more intensity. His high game was 31 points against Reservoir.

Jonas Vaitkus

Atholton, senior

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