Clancy back on court



Following several days of contemplation, Westminster quarterback Kevin Clancy, The Sun's All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year, decided late last week to return to the court for his senior season of basketball.

Clancy, who threw for 3,335 yards and 38 touchdowns to lead the Owls to a 12-2 record and a trip to the Class 3A state finals this fall, had considered sitting out the winter season, in part to focus on the college recruiting process.

After several days of talking with coaches and his father, Kevin Sr., however, he decided that playing would help him more quickly heal the emotional wounds of a double-overtime loss to Gwynn Park in the finals.

"It took a little thought," Clancy said. "[The state final] was tough emotionally, but I just need something to do, so I'm going to play."

Owls basketball coach Brett Kanther said he first learned that he may be without his senior - one of only two on the team - on the Monday following the game.

"When he came to me, I could see he was visibly upset, and I just said, `I don't want you to make an emotional decision,' " Kanther said. "Kevin needed the time, so I told him to take a couple days and get back to me."

While football teammates Dan Stone and Jeremy Hines returned to basketball practice that Monday, both seeing action in Westminster's 44-42 win over South Carroll the following day, Clancy considered his options.

"I really was disappointed when I heard he might not play, just from a personal standpoint," Kanther said. "I really want him to end his high school career doing positive things on the basketball floor."

Clancy returned to practice on Monday. While the 6-foot-1 forward didn't play much last season, Kanther expects him to move into a larger role this season.

"I'm going to try and put him in a position where, at some point, he can really step up for us," Kanther said. "He's been through the wars, and certainly if we have any kind of adversity, he's going to be able to really be a leader. He doesn't back down from anything or anybody. He'll run through a brick wall for you."

Moore makes mark

It took just one recent tournament for Winters Mill junior varsity wrestler Chris Moore to earn a starting spot on the varsity.

Substituting for ranked returning junior Tim Crocken - out with a sore back - in the 130-pound class at McDonogh's Ray Oliver Tournament, Moore stunned the field by pinning his way to the finals. His three wins, including a pin of state place-winner Ben Levin in the quarterfinals, helped the Falcons to a runner-up finish in the 17-team field.

"It was pretty nifty, because we knew how overmatched he was," Winters Mill coach John Lowe said. "We knew he was dangerous - he's a pinner - but the great thing about that one match is he didn't just pin him, he beat him, then pinned him."

Although Moore eventually fell to Centennial's Mike Montanez in the finals, his effort left a lasting impression, prompting Lowe to shift his lineup and create a spot for the young wrestler.

Moore was one of three finalists for Winters Mill, along with 145-pounder Dan Sharkey and 171-pounder Luke Benko. The tournament was a pleasant affirmation for Lowe, who had wondered if his team - ranked No. 13 in The Sun's preseason poll -had been ranked prematurely.

"Though secretly I harbored thoughts that we could do that well and even better, the preseason rankings are always based on the previous year, and on paper we weren't that good," Lowe said. "It's a pleasure to see that we're living up to some expectations."

The Falcons then went on to dominate Middletown in a match on Dec. 13 and were scheduled to face North Carroll last night. Lowe said he believes there are five Carroll teams capable of winning the county and conference, and perhaps even a state title. "Just to get out of our own backyard will be tough," he said. "This is the year to prove ourselves."

Confidence builder

Undoubtedly, the biggest game of the young girls basketball season occurred on Friday night, when unheralded Westminster traveled the short distance to neighboring Winters Mill and upset the then-fourth-ranked Falcons, 67-61.

Paced by a pair of key three-pointers by Brianne Sims and a late scoring flurry by freshman Cassie Cooke, the Falcons rallied from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter.

"It's a huge confidence builder," Westminster coach Jerry Georgiana said. "We played a couple teams that we beat by more than 15, but I didn't think we were ready for this game. This is huge. Now they know they can hang with any team in Carroll County or Frederick. They just have to execute."

As big as the experience was for the Owls, however, it was equally large for the Falcons.

After advancing to last season's Class 2A state semifinals, and opening this season with a pair of wins, including a 92-24 blowout of North Carroll, Winters Mill learned some valuable lessons that should pay dividends down the road, according to coach Bernie Koontz. "Sometimes you take things for granted," Koontz said. "You have to know that it's not always going to be easy when you walk out there. You need to be ready to go.

"We'll rebound from this. We'll learn from it."

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