Three months into the season, area basketball coaches have built a wealth of knowledge about their own teams. For two Carroll County rivals meeting in tomorrow's Class 3A West boys quarterfinals, that knowledge will extend to the opposing bench.
Host Westminster (16-6) will meet North Carroll (13-9) for the third time this season, with each looking for a spot in Wednesday's semifinals, most likely against a Bethesda-Chevy Chase team that holds the top seed in the region and the No. 14 ranking in the Washington area.
"Playing a team for the third time, you pretty much know what you're up against," North Carroll coach Lloyd Ford said. "It pretty much comes down to more of a game of execution."
North Carroll beat Westminster, 65-62, last month before Westminster came back with a 67-50 win earlier this month. The latter game came after both teams missed practice for three straight days because of the winter storm.
"They responded to it in the first half much better than we did," Ford said. "Hopefully, getting back to a routine puts us on a more even scale with them. This has the potential to be a very good game."
Westminster coach Brett Kanther said that several intangible factors should be working in his team's favor.
"The first time we played, it wasn't so much anything they did. We were something like 14 for 26 from the free throw line, and we were on the road," Kanther said. "Home-court advantage is enormous, so that's something we're going to enjoy on Monday."
Guard Kevin Carr averages 16.2 points per game to lead Westminster, while guard Steve Janowitz paces the Panthers at 11 points per game.
Century's Matt Duerr had two of his best games of the season last week to earn Player of the Week honors in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's Chesapeake Conference.
Duerr started the week with 16 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in a 68-35 win over Westminster. Then, in a losing effort Feb. 16, he scored 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four blocks against Liberty.
He was 7-for-10 from the field and 9-for-11 from the foul line in that game.
The awards are voted on weekly by 11 members of the media.
Second-best is OK
It may not have been a win, but Liberty's second straight runner-up finish at the Class 2A-1A state boys indoor track meet last week was definitely worthy of praise, Lions coach Bobby Ward said.
"Not a lot of teams finish in the top two for two straight years," Ward said. "It's tough being so close both years, but they accomplished quite a bit."
The Lions, who captured individual state titles in the high jump (Nick Hruch) and 1,600 meters (Eric Liberatore), took the lead with one event left when Hruch and Liberatore finished 3-4 in the 800. But Liberty failed to qualify a team for the final event, the 1,600 relay, which Poly won to finish the meet eight points ahead.
"A lot of places where we thought we could score points ... we just had some tough breaks," Ward said.
A year ago, Liberty fell to champion Forestville by 10 points.
The Lions' Kate Paczynski also earned a state title in the girls high jump.
To submit news and story ideas about Carroll County high school athletics, contact Rich Scherr at CarrollSports@comcast.net.