Brother act boosts Severna Park

Boys lacrosse: The defending state champion Falcons benefit from senior Ben Hunt's leadership and sophomore Chris' emergence as a scorer.

Sports Beat

Anne Arundel County schools

April 27, 2005|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

There are a number of reasons Ben Hunt enjoys having younger brother Chris as a teammate on the Severna Park boys lacrosse team.

Not the least of which is that Chris, a sophomore, helps Ben, a senior, with his equipment.

"He strings my stick for me," Ben acknowledged.

Said Chris: "I do it for him basically because he doesn't know how to."

They both seem to benefit from Chris' craftsmanship.

Take April 19 as an example. Severna Park was playing previously unbeaten Broadneck. The Hunt brothers were responsible for 13 points as Ben scored twice and had five assists -- three to Chris, who had five goals and one assist in a 15-7 victory.

They enjoy each other's company on and off the field, although they try to go their separate ways socially.

"On weekends, we try to stay away from each other, and he has his own group of little sophomores to hang out with," said Ben, who has a lacrosse scholarship to North Carolina.

Ben's play and senior leadership and Chris' rapid improvement have become double trouble for opposing teams as Severna Park seeks to repeat as Anne Arundel County and Class 4A/3A state champion.

"It's awesome playing with Ben," Chris said. "We also played together on the football team, and I've learned a lot from him."

The ninth-ranked Falcons (6-1) won it all last season, as Ben was a scoring force with 49 goals and 22 assists.

Chris saw limited time as a freshman, but he benefited from the experience of being around such a strong group of players.

He and the other underclassmen also benefit from the example of Ben, who is 6 feet 4, 185 pounds and was an All-County receiver in football.

"I can't overemphasize Ben's unselfishness on the lacrosse field, " said second-year coach Jim Beardmore, a former standout goalie at Severn and the University of Maryland.

"You don't win championships without unselfish play, and we made him one of our captains this year because of how he goes about getting things done.

"Ben takes getting ground balls as serious as he does scoring. He seems to come up with three to four key ground balls in every game, and that is such an important part of the game and winning."

Ben led the Falcons in ground balls (102) in his All-County junior season and has picked up where he left off. His numbers are down in scoring because Beardmore doesn't believe in running up scores, and Ben is in agreement.

"We don't run up our stats, and some games some of us might only play a quarter, and I didn't play at all against Meade [an 8-0 win with the starters sitting]," said Ben, who has 15 goals and nine assists. Chris is right behind with 13 and eight.

"I love to be out there, but I also like to see my teammates who don't play all the time get a chance out there. In the big picture, it makes us a better team."

Beardmore is more direct.

"We don't want our starters scoring eight goals against certain teams," he said. "All that does is create false stats.

"You look in our scorebook and you will see that we have about 10 players contribute [goals and assists] nearly every game. In the big game at Broadneck, we had 10 contribute."

It helps to have seniors such as Ben, whom the coach calls "Skeletor" because he "looks like a he-man character with his shirt off, all veins," buying into that philosophy because younger players such as Chris are more likely to accept it, too.

"Chris is smart, uses both hands well, does all the intangibles and is like a sponge [when it comes to learning]," said Beardmore, who acknowledges he is still getting used to Chris scoring.

"It usually takes me a couple years to learn all of their names. Chris will score, and I will ask one of my assistants, `Who was that who scored?' They'll say, `young Hunt' or `little Hunt.' "

Of course, Chris is not so little at 5-11, 155 pounds and still growing. By the time he is a senior, he might have a little freshman brother on the varsity with him. Ben and Chris say that 12-year-old seventh-grader Connor Hunt, who is 5-8 and plays on the Green Hornets Midget A team, could end up being the best of them all.

Their father, Jeff Hunt, played at McDonogh and Fairleigh Dickinson.

The primary lacrosse issue for all the Hunts, including, their mother, Ellen Hunt, is for Severna Park to repeat as state champion.

"Anything less than a state title will be disappointing," Ben said.

"And that's not being cocky. We have a lot of confidence we can do it again with a whole bunch of scoring threats and great defensemen like Sean Kostkowski, Dave Faulkner, Shawn Lowman and Mark Linehan. And of course, our goalie, Mike Gvozden. This team believes it can win."

THE QUOTE

"I was honored Mount Hebron stalled the ball the last seven minutes."

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