Division parity a difficult goal

Blind draw sets up alignment every two years

setup unlikely to change despite mismatch in girls basketball championship game



This year's Baltimore City girls basketball championship left a lot of folks wondering how a title game could end in an 81-18 romp.

Fourth-ranked Western was used to winning lopsided games, but a few opponents came closer than City did in the final, including No. 10 Southside, 65-44; Poly, 43-39; and Mervo, 61-38. Those three teams, however, were in Division II with the Doves. Only one could advance to the city final.

In the championship game, the team with the best record in Division II plays the team with the best record in Division I. The schools are aligned by a blind draw every two years, said Southside boys coach Dana Johnson, the District IX representative to the state girls basketball committee.

The draw is the same for girls and boys.

While the girls game did not feature the top two teams this time, the boys championship did, with then-No. 2 Walbrook beating then-No. 3 Southwestern, 55-34.

Johnson said coaches have talked about finding a different way to set up the divisions, but there are no plans to change.

The current alignment will continue for next season: Digital Harbor, Douglass, Dunbar, Lake Clifton, Mervo, Poly, Southside, Walbrook and Western in Division I; Banks, Carver, City, Du Bois, Edmondson, Forest Park, Lewis, Northwestern, Patterson, and Southwestern in Division II.

The biggest problem is trying to even things up when some schools with strong boys programs have struggling girls programs and vice versa.

"For the last three years, the strong [girls] schools have been Western, Southside, Dunbar and City. That would be simple, but Southside's boys team is not strong, City's boys team is coming up and, of course, Dunbar would be easy because they're consistent. Parity is going to be difficult if you try to make the boys and girls even that way," Johnson said.

She noted that Southwestern's boys romped through Division II this season, while Walbrook had three other teams currently ranked in the Top 15 on its side of the bracket - No. 8 Mervo, No. 10 Dunbar and No. 13 Douglass.

Those who think this alignment will always make the girls final lopsided need look no further than last season's championship, when then-No. 15 City upset heavily favored No. 2 Western, 45-43.

"That just shows you that it may be uneven one year, but who knows how it may turn out next year," Johnson said.

Charm City Challenge

All-Metro players Jamal Barney of Southwestern, Louis Birdsong of Mount St. Joseph, Rodney Spruill of Walbrook and DuJuan Summers of McDonogh are among the players who have been chosen to play for the Baltimore all-stars against a team of U.S. all-stars in April's Charm City Challenge at Towson Center.

Walbrook's Kelvin Bridgers will coach the Baltimore team, which also includes Jarwand Rheubottom (Southwestern), Dejuan Goodwin (Mount St. Joseph), Russell Frederick (Calvert Hall) and Marc Davis (Walbrook).

The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. on April 2. It follows a 3 p.m. preliminary contest at the sixth annual event, in which Towson Catholic's Josh Pratt will coach a team of suburban all-stars against one composed of Baltimore City players and coached by Southwestern's Terry Leverett.

Playing for the city team in the initial game are Southwestern's Torey Gilmore, Travis Debreaux and Wayne Dorsey; Mount St. Joseph's Kevin Swecker and Chase Adams; St. Frances' DiShawn Bradshaw and Shawn Alexander; Dunbar's Marcus Taylor and Delano Johnson; Walbrook's Eric Pitts; and Douglass' Antione Smithson.

Representing Baltimore County on the suburban team are Owings Mills' Kevin Timmons and Josh Wenderoth; Woodlawn's Lewis Lambert; Loyola's Pat O'Connell; Overlea's Jamal Bell; and Mount Carmel's Maros Zuffa.

`Super 22' banquet

Twenty-two rising juniors will be honored as top prospects at the 10th annual Baltimore Touchdown Club' Super 22 banquet on April 27 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

On offense, they include running backs Jarred Ricks of Mount St. Joseph, Raymond Ridgeway of Archbishop Curley, Kiero Small of Cardinal Gibbons, Anton Wade of Patterson and John Pagliaro of Gilman; and linemen Kevin Barnwell of Forest Park and Sam Poggi of Gilman.

Defensively, the players include linebackers Ben Eaton of Gilman, Derek Session of Dunbar, Dominick Roseborough of City and Robert Purnell of Patterson; lineman Eric Foote of Southern; and defensive backs Maurice Porte and Kendall Jamison of Dunbar and Daron Jones of Cardinal Gibbons.

The organization named Dunbar principal Roger Shaw as Administrator of the Year and longtime Gilman assistant Stan White as recipient of its George Young Lifetime Achievement Award.

Seven stick together

Seven seniors on Greater Grace's two-time Maryland Christian Athletic League boys basketball team, which went 22-5 en route to the title this season, have been together since seventh grade.

Those Eagles players include Tyler Yanosky, Josh Horton and Paul Andrulonis.

Yanosky is a 6-foot-5 center whose 1,300 rebounds are a school record and whose 1,414 career points are 16 shy of the school record.

Horton, a 6-foot forward, also has scored 1,000 points, and Andrulonis, a 6-2 guard, is the school's first player to have more than 500 assists (559).



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