Mt. Hebron's path less chosen

Unlike the school's undefeated girls team, a few tough losses were key to the Vikings' boys lacrosse state title run

Howard's Thompson triumphs

Notebook

May 31, 2006|By GLENN GRAHAM AND EDWARD LEE | GLENN GRAHAM AND EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTERS

While the No. 1 Mount Hebron girls lacrosse team celebrated its fifth perfect season on its way to its 10th straight state title, the Vikings boys took a different path to capture its state title this spring.

Coach Tom Minard said a big key to the championship season was the lessons learned along the way, particularly in the Vikings' losses.

Back-to-back setbacks to county rivals Glenelg and River Hill late in the season proved valuable resources, as the Vikings (16-4) were able to adjust and avenge both in their regional playoff run.

"We were terrible offensively against Glenelg and stressed what was needed to be done at that end. It wasn't necessarily the guys with the ball, but what the guys were doing without the ball - just standing around and not doing anything. We learned from that," Minard said. "Ironically, we came back that Friday and played River Hill and we were terrible defensively. We constantly worked on those things in practice to make adjustments, and I said to the kids, `We'll make the changes and figure out how to beat those teams, just have confidence,' and they did."

After losing to Glenelg 8-6 in the regular season, the Vikings came away with an 8-6 win in the postseason. Against River Hill, they fell 14-10 during the regular season, but limited the Hawks to seven goals in a 9-7 win to capture the regional crown.

From there, the Vikings came away with a 10-9 overtime win against North Harford in the Class 3A-2A state semifinal before staking claim to the crown with a 9-7 win over Urbana on May 23, with senior Tommy Incontrera providing two goals and two assists.

The Vikings trailed in each of their last four playoff games, but found a way to win.

"We were just a good team throughout. We didn't have any one standout player. Every player we put on the field was a very good lacrosse player," Minard said. "Against Glenelg, we were down two goals going into the fourth quarter and North Harford got up on us 4-0 early. So it was just everybody just kind of believing in each other and somebody at some point stepping up and doing something to make a play."

Confidence rewarded

Confidence, faith, the belief in oneself - whatever you want to call it, Joey Thompson and Hammond's 800-relay squad were feeling it.

Thompson, a sophomore at Howard, had performed well during the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, but usually came up short in his memorable battles with Atholton junior Andrew Revelle.

Thompson's fortunes changed on Thursday, however, when he passed Revelle in the final 100 meters of the 3,200 to claim the Class 2A state crown at the championship meet at Morgan State University.

Thompson, who won in 9 minutes, 23.10 seconds to Revelle's 9:24.28, said his burst at the end was slightly unexpected, but gratefully accepted.

"Normally on the last kick, he starts going real fast, and blows me away," said Thompson, who finished second to Revelle in the 1,600 and 3,200 at the South regional and county championships. "Today, I was just feeling it."

Hammond's foursome of senior Tabias Eakins, juniors Derrick Love and Chris Thompson and sophomore Phil Morehead were in a similar zone in the 800 relay on Thursday.

The Bears took the race in 1:30.17, but even before the competition began, Love told coach Mark Reedy to start walking toward the award stand to pick up the team's medals.

"Some may see it as overconfidence," Reedy said. "I was taught that the word `confidence' comes from the Latin `con' [with] and `fide' [faith]. I see confidence as faith. These kids had absolute faith in each other."

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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