All-metro Boys Basketball

March 22, 2006

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

LOUIS BIRDSONG

Mount St. Joseph

Birdsong epitomized the team concept that led the Gaels to a state record for wins in a season by a boys basketball team. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound senior forward's constant hustle and all-around play helped lead the Gaels to a 38-1 season and a No. 5 national ranking by USA Today.

Birdsong's strengths were in evidence in Frostburg this past weekend at the 46th Alhambra tournament, where he led the Gaels to their first final in that event in 35 years, which they lost to DeMatha, 70-55. Birdsong, who was named to the All-Tournament team, had team highs of 14 points and 12 rebounds in the final and finished with 40 points, 26 rebounds and seven blocked shots in three games.

The Sun's Player of the Year honor caps off a postseason flurry of awards for Birdsong. Baltimore Catholic League coaches voted him as Most Valuable Player of both the regular season and tournament.

Birdsong, who has a scholarship to George Mason, did not have the highest statistics among the area's elite players, but his value to a team with balanced scoring went beyond his numbers.

"Louis is always there when it counts on a team that shares the basketball and doesn't care who scores," Gaels coach Pat Clatchey said. "Louis is all about winning, and that's what this team is about."

Birdsong, who shared team scoring honors with All-Metro guard Dejuan Goodwin at 12.2 points per game, had a knack for doing whatever it took - offensively or defensively - to win a game.

Birdsong averaged 8.5 rebounds, two blocked shots and 1.5 steals.

COACH OF THE YEAR

PAT CLATCHEY

Mount St. Joseph

Clatchey led his alma mater to a state record for wins in a season by a boys basketball team, and has been named the All-Metro Coach of the Year for the second time in three years.

He led the Gaels to state records for single-season wins and most consecutive wins in one season. Mount St. Joseph finished as the runner-up in the 46th Alhambra tournament last weekend to conclude a 38-1 season that included four tournament titles and two regular-season crowns.

"Coach keeps everything on a low keel and is a great communicator," All-Metro guard Dejuan Goodwin said.

Clatchey's Gaels won the Gonzaga Classic in Washington, the Benedictine (Va.), the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and the 35th Baltimore Catholic League tournament titles.

The Gaels became the first BCL team to go un-defeated in the regular season plus the tournament (19-0) since coach Charlie Reif's 1983-84 Calvert Hall team.

"We tell our guys to play with emotion, but don't be emotional, and I was amazed at their poise and composure," said Clatchey, 43, who has also been selected by his peers as BCL Coach of the Year five consecutive seasons, a span in which his Gaels went an area-best 151-24. "They've taken a lot of teams' best shots and didn't get rattled. They always found a way. It was never a goal to go undefeated."

Mount St. Joseph went wire-to-wire as The Sun's No. 1-ranked team and also rose to No. 5 in the nation in USA Today . It's the highest national ranking for a Baltimore-area team since No. 1 Dunbar in 1991-92.

Clatchey is 322-128 (.716) in 14 seasons, winning three BCL tournament titles in the past four years and four consecutive regular-season crowns.

FIRST TEAM

Jamal Barney

Southwestern

Baltimore City's leading scorer over the past two seasons, the 6-foot-3 senior guard led the No. 4-ranked Sabers to the Class 4A North regional title and the state semifinals. Barney, who led the metro area in scoring for most of the season, averaged 26.8 points and scored 1,366 points over his past two seasons, and more than 1,800 points in three seasons. This season, he scored a career-high 48 points against Williamsport (Pa.), and scored 41 against Carver. He also averaged 5.2 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Barney, also a first-team pick last season, has a scholarship to Providence.

Malcolm Delaney

Towson Catholic

A versatile guard who started his varsity career at McDonogh, the 6-3 junior has played the past two seasons at Towson Catholic and emerged as one of the area's top players. Delaney, who was a second team All-Metro pick last season after averaging 14 points a game, raised his scoring average to 18 per game this season and teamed with fellow junior Donte' Greene to give the No. 5 Owls a potent offense. They led the Owls to runner-up finishes in the Baltimore Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference tournaments. He also averaged six rebounds, five assists and 2.7 steals.

Dejuan Goodwin

Mount St. Joseph

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