The Poll

Varsity Winter Preview

Boys Basketball

December 03, 2009|By sports staff after consulting with coaches

1. St. Frances

Coach: Mark Karcher Last season: 33-4, ranked No. 2

Postseason: MIAA A Conference and BCL champion

Outlook: The Panthers accomplished an impressive feat in sweeping the MIAA and BCL crowns last year. With four starters back, led by forward Dante Holmes and guard Wayne Sparrow, they have the goods to enjoy the same success this season.

2. Lake Clifton

Coach: Herman Harried Last season: 28-0, No. 1

Postseason: Class 3A state champion

Outlook: A largely different cast could bring the same results for the Lakers, who remain the heavy favorites in Baltimore City despite losing four standout starters. DeMatha transfer Josh Selby, one of the country's most heavily recruited point guards, will run the show.

3. Calvert Hall

Coach: John Bauersfeld Last season: 30-7, No. 4

Postseason: MIAA A finalist, BCL semifinalist

Outlook: With forwards Jonathan Graham and Damion Lee anchoring an experienced and versatile starting lineup, the Cardinals are banking on this being their year. No team in the MIAA and BCL matches up better with top-ranked St. Frances than the Cardinals.

4. Mount St. Joseph

Coach: Pat Clatchey Last season: 21-13, No. 10

Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinalist, BCL semifinalist

Outlook: Despite injury woes last season, the Gaels remained highly competitive largely because of the play of point guard Eric Atkins. The BCL Player of the Year has a stacked lineup to work with this season.

5. Digital Harbor

Coach: Johnnie Grimes

Last season: 23-5, No. 5

Postseason: 1A state champion

Outlook: The Rams ran their way to a state title last season and are primed to repeat. Guard Justin Jackson brings poise to the backcourt and forward Davon Usher contributes with his versatile skills up front.

6. Milford Mill

Coach: Albert Holley Last season: 23-4, No. 3

Postseason: 3A North finalist

Outlook: One basket separated the Millers and 3A state champion Lake Clifton in last year's North regional title game. The defending Baltimore County champs, led by senior point guard Anthony Goode, are hungry for more this season.

7. Old Mill

Coach: Greg Smith Last season: 22-3, No. 9

Postseason: 4A East semifinalist

Outlook: Led by the lightning-quick guard combination of Mike Holley and Chris Day, the Anne Arundel County champs play at a frenetic yet controlled pace. The overwhelming challenge for opponents is trying to keep up, and only a rare few succeed.

8. City

Coach: Mike Daniel Last season: 21-6, No. 6

Postseason: 2A state champion

Outlook: The Knights, minus four starters from last year's championship team, will lean heavily on 6-foot-9 center Jordan Latham while a talented group of newcomers settle into their starting roles. John Carroll transfer Nick Faust helps solidify the backcourt.

9. Arundel

Coach: Jeff Starr Last season: 21-4, No. 13

Postseason: 4A East semifinalist

Outlook: The Wildcats' already-potent offense gets a huge boost with the addition of guard Brandon Belt, a transfer from Southern who averaged an Anne Arundel County-high 20 points last year. Expect plenty of points when the Wildcats step onto the floor.

10. Edmondson

Coach: Darnell Dantzler Last season: 14-7, unranked

Postseason: 2A North finalist

Outlook: The Red Storm has a quality go-to player in forward Stanton Kidd, and there's plenty of experienced talent around him. Depth and quickness will enable the Red Storm to play its usual high-pressure defense, but it also has the size to go zone when needed.

11. Parkville

Coach: Rod Norris Last season: 15-9, unranked

Postseason: 4A North quarterfinalist

Outlook: The Knights saw key players transfer in and out. As the season begins, they feel they might have added more than they lost, with former Walbrook point guard Denzell Walker as the spark plug.

12. Dunbar

Coach: Cyrus Jones Last season: 19-7, unranked

Postseason: 1A North finalist

Outlook: The Poets, who have three starters and 11 players returning, have one of the area's top perimeter games, led by Derrell Edwards and Roderick Camphor. Pressure defense and a smooth transition game will lead to wins. Point guard Corey Spence was injured in a car accident last week, but Jones thinks he could return later this season.

13. Annapolis

Coach: John Brady Last season: 18-6, unranked

Postseason: 3A North semifinalist

Outlook: Standout forward Delmore Howard is a dominating first option for the Panthers, who have a multitalented roster that goes 11 deep to wear down opponents. Expect them to be in the mix with Arundel and Old Mill for the top prize in Anne Arundel County.

14. Atholton

Coach: Jim Albert Last season: 23-4, No. 12

Postseason: 3A state semifinalist

Outlook: The defending Howard County champion Raiders play smart team ball at both ends of the floor. This season, they will lean on versatile forward Matt Robinson and sharp-shooting guard Connor Cortes to make another run at the state playoffs.

15. Aberdeen

Coach: Richard Hart Last season: 19-4, unranked

Postseason: 3A North finalist

Outlook: The defending Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference champions lost All-Metro guard Devon Saddler to graduation but are confident they have the right mix of returning talent, newcomers from junior varsity and transfers to stay highly competitive.

OTHERS CONSIDERED: : Douglass (12-11, unranked), Glen Burnie (17-8, No. 15), John Carroll (25-10, No. 11), Long Reach (16-7, unranked), Owings Mills (12-12, unranked), Patterson (18-5, unranked), South Carroll (17-9, unranked)

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