Bel Air's defense helps get offense off to a quick start

Notebook

December 23, 2007|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special To The Sun

The Bel Air boys basketball team jumped out to a 4-1 start, thanks in large part to an improved offense.

Coach Nate Weigl's offense is averaging 74.2 points, an increase of about 10 points over last season.

The Bobcats have scored at least 69 points three times. They routed North East-Cecil (96-54), Patuxent (69-36) and Harford Tech (79-50). Junior guard-forward Donn Hill (20.2 points, 12.2 rebounds per game) and senior guard Lionel Perkins (17 points) score about half the team's points, on average.

Point guard Gian Bautista (8.8 points), center Tyrell Stewart (8.2) and forward Eric Chizmar (6.8), all seniors, help the Bobcats starters average 61 points per game. "I'm a little surprised," Weigl said. "I had [confidence in them], but I didn't expect it quite so soon."

Weigl also said the team's defense plays a crucial role in the offense. The Bobcats are pushing the tempo, working hard at creating turnovers that can be converted into easy points.

"Defensively, we've had a complete team effort, for sure," Weigl said. "I've gotten a great defensive effort from my team for the first five games, and that's got to continue."

Net gain for hockey

The Fallston ice hockey program is continuing to grow.

Ice hockey is not an officially recognized sport in Harford County, but Jim Karrenbauer and Dave Frongillo started the Fallston club program four years ago. The Cougars had only 14 players that first season, but times have changed.

Fallston now is fielding varsity, junior varsity and middle school teams. The varsity team plays in the tough Maryland Scholastic Hockey League and had a 1-2 record after three games.

The Cougars lost to defending state champion South River and Severna Park and pulled out a tough 8-6 victory over Annapolis. Fallston has a difficult early-season schedule that Karrenbauer thinks will help it down the line.

"We feel pretty confident about the rest of the year," he said.

The Cougars draw players from Fallston, Bel Air and C. Milton Wright and have home games at Ice World in Bel Air. They practice twice a week and are scheduled for about 20 games this season - depending upon tournament competition.

Senior left wing Brandon Boehmer and junior defenseman Casey Jendras have been cornerstones since the team's early days.

Karrenbauer said he hopes there will be another Harford County team in the next few years.

"It's growing exponentially right now," Karrenbauer said. "Every year, it's just getting larger and larger."

A helping hand

A number of Harford County athletes are using their basketball skills to raise money for needy families in the area.

Aberdeen, Bel Air, Harford Tech and Joppatowne basketball players took part in the 11th annual Shooting Santas event this month.

Players and coaches got friends and families to pledge money for a free-throw shooting competition. Each team took 50 foul shots after people pledged money based on the number of shots made or contributed a set amount.

Aberdeen girls coach Mike Blizzard said his team brought in more than $4,800 last week and was hoping to top $5,000. Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference rival Bohemia Manor raised about $3,400.

Joppatowne and Harford Tech didn't have final totals.

Big wins

With UCBAC games starting shortly, several Harford County teams have gotten off to good starts in nonconference play.

In the Chesapeake Division, Aberdeen (3-0 overall record), Fallston (5-1) Bel Air (4-1), and C. Milton Wright (4-1) all are playing well. Edgewood (4-2) has the best nonconference mark in the Susquehanna Division.

The Aberdeen boys recorded one of their most impressive victories in recent memory with a 76-59 decision over Dunbar in the Aberdeen Tip-Off Classic last weekend.

The Harford Tech boys also raised a few eyebrows with a 64-46 victory over C.M. Wright earlier this month. It was the Cobras' first victory over the Mustangs. Junior Jeremy Mayo had a triple double with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.

Senior Devin Ewing added 24 points, six assists and three steals. Seniors Jared West and Malik Mack each scored 10. The Cobras were 2-2 after their first four games.

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