Coach sees big season ahead in basketball

Harford Christian can win title, he says


December 03, 2006|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Reporter

Harford Christian boys basketball coach Justin Cross does not try to hide his enthusiasm for this season's team.

"I've been coaching four years now, and this has been a year of anticipation for me," he said. "We have a little bit of everything on this team, and I believe we're good enough to win our conference title."

Harford Christian was 21-11 last season and finished third in the Maryland Association of Christian Schools conference.

"We're a pretty deep team, we're very fast and athletic, and we have talent in all positions," Cross said. "Our expectations are to win the whole thing this year, although we have to get by two tough teams in Capitol Christian and Clinton. We're in a tough conference, but we have the talent. We should win it."

The biggest factor right now is trying to figure out a way for everyone to get their share of shots, Cross said.

"When you have this type of team, all the talent in the world, getting them to play well together is a key," he said.

Harford Christian will be aggressive on offense and defense, Cross said, and the team that beats it will do so "by getting us out of our game."

"That's what worries me right now," he said.

Leading the team is senior small forward Jon Grant, who averaged a team-leading 18 points last season. Grant has an explosive first step and is adept at handling the basketball.

Also starting is senior forward Azman Coy, who is smooth around the basket and shoots with either hand.

Another starter is 6-foot-4 junior center Andrew Mascia, who is an outstanding leaper, has an ability to finish around the basket and is strong and physical.

The team's starting point guard will be senior Nick Bandy, a transfer from North Harford. Bandy shows a lot of poise, composure and leadership, the coach said.

Completing the starting lineup will be senior shooting guard Nathan Atwell, who has a fine shooting touch and a good first step, and is a strong team leader, according to Cross.

Other key players are junior forward John Mark Edwards, who is pushing for a starting spot; senior backup center Michael Avery; senior backup guard Jerod Freeman, who is a strong penetrator and finisher around the basket; and sophomore backup point guard Eric Quinn.

Cross said his players "have to make each other better."

He added: "We can't depend on our individual skill. Five guys are always greater than one and we have to have a passion for our teammates."

New gym floor

The North Harford boys basketball team will play its first game on the school's new gymnasium floor at 7 o'clock Tuesday night, meeting always-tough rival Fallston.

"Our gym floor is brand-new and finished and looks beautiful," Hawks athletic director Brady Green said. "Everything's ready to go. We got it officially on the 15th of November."

Green said no elaborate ceremonies are planned for the opening of the new floor, but he said, "Fallston is a big game for us. It's become quite a rivalry."

In addition to the new floor, new bleachers and a new scoreboard have been installed.

The old floor was flooded out in June.

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