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Baltimore Messenger top sports stories of 2011

What a stretch run (Nov. 18)

Who would have thought it?

After a stunning 0-5 start, the last thing the Boys' Latin football team had to be concerned about was the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship game.

But when the Lakers strung together five straight victories in the second half of the season, they accomplished what might have seemed almost impossible.

Boys' Latin reached the final against Annapolis Area Christian School at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, the Eagles' speed and big-play ability overwhelmed Boys' Latin in a 46-13 loss.

AACS (10-2) had scored 46 unanswered points.

AACS senior running back Joshua McPhearson had a memorable game. He rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

McPhearson also returned a kickoff 77 yards for a score.

There was one big positive for the Lakers: Senior Brandon Cherry led Boys' Latin with 142 yards rushing on 28 carries.

Boys Latin finished 5-7, but it's likely the Lakers will remember their great second-half more than anything.

Roland Park's dynasty continues (Oct. 21)

There's not many dynasties in the IAAM, but the Roland Park tennis team is one of them.

The Reds captured their fourth straight championship last fall thanks to some excellent depth.

Roland Park appears strongest at doubles. Both teams of Hera Koliatsos and Katie Tutrone (No. 2) and Heather Oros and Niccola Lynch (No. 3) won titles.

It marked the third straight league crown and undefeated season for each duo.

The No. 1 doubles team of Kelsey Dwyer and Kristin Polk finished second in the post-season tournament.

Audrey Todd won a No. 2 singles championship while teammate Ava Todd placed third overall.

Making Friends (Feb. 11)

There was no championship on the line, or anything to play for other than to send its senior star and the delirious "Quaker Crazies" — the moniker for diehard Friends basketball fans — home happy on Senior Night.

And somehow that's exactly what happened with the crowd helping to carry Jon Schmidt off the court during an emotional celebration after a stunning 54-53 victory over Severn.

Schmidt, who scored a game-high 27 points in the finale of a brilliant career, was held aloft by celebrating fans in the mob scene after one of the wildest wins in school history.

"It's the best way you can possibly go out," said Schmidt, who is now playing for Brown University, after scoring 14 points in the riveting final eight minutes. "We never stopped believing."

Neither did the crowd in a jam-packed "Quaker Dome," where FNB — Friday Night Basketball — has become a not-to-be-missed event.

Considering Friends fell behind by 19 points with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, it looked like the night would end like so many other games had in a six-win season.

Thanks to Schmidt's heroics, the Quakers' season ended on an upnote.

Miracle moment (May 17)

In a not-to-be-believed sequence, the Gilman lacrosse team scored three goals — while down a man — in 35 seconds to send the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal to overtime in what turned out to be a 7-6 victory over Boys' Latin.

Towson Times Players of the Year Ryan Tucker and Conor Doyle notched the goals for the Greyhounds, who went on to beat Calvert Hall, 13-8, in the final at Towson University.

Tucker, who scored three of the final four goals, rippled the net in overtime to give Gilman its third one-goal triumph of the season over the hard-luck Lakers.

On the tying goal with 27 seconds left in regulation, Tucker was swarmed by BL defenders before somehow getting off a crisp shot.

In OT, with teams finally at even strength, Tucker made a quick move to his right to gain separation from his defender and rifled a rocket into the goal.

Gridiron classic (Nov. 18)

Gilman and Calvert Hall have staged some memorable football games over the last two seasons, and the inaugural MIAA A Conference final was no exception.

The Greyhounds prevailed, 34-32, in double overtime to take back the title the Cardinals had taken from them in 2010.

The game featured a six-play, 69-yard drive directed by Calvert Hall senior quarterback Thomas Stuart that knotted the score, 20-20, with 28 seconds remaining in regulation on an 18-yard pass from Stuart to senior Brandon Neverdon.

In the end, despite two more Stuart touchdown passes, two scores and a two-point conversion by senior running back Cyrus Jones were enough to get Gilman over the hump.

Reds' revenge (May 12)

After being tormented by losses — including a 15-9 drubbing three weeks earlier — to archrival Bryn Mawr on the lacrosse field, Roland Park Country School ended four years of frustration with an improbable victory.

The 12-11 triumph was even sweeter because it denied the Mawrtians a trip to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final and advanced the Reds to the championship match for the first time since 2004.

Led by senior midfield star Caroline Seats' monster year (47 goals, 31 assists), Roland Park's offense was a thing of beauty as it paved the way to a championship berth by stepping over nemesis Bryn Mawr.

The Reds came close to winning it all before bowing to McDonogh, 18-17, the nation's top-ranked team and three-year reigning conference champion.

Homer happy (May 9)

Boys' Latin's Zach Davis more than atoned for previously leaving runners stranded in the game against Lutheran in a battle to see which team would qualify for the MIAA B Conference baseball playoffs.

Trailing 11-8 in the 11th inning, the senior designated hitter crushed a one-out, 0-1 pitch well over the 16-foot-high fence in left-center field for a walk-off grand slam home run to give the Lakers a breathtaking 12-11 triumph over the Saints.

"I told coach (Bill Greenwell) I wanted to end the game right now," said Davis, a member of the Colgate University soccer team in the fall. "It was a great way to end it on senior day."

BL, which rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, did not prevail in the playoffs. But for one game, at least, it was great to be a Laker.

No second title (Feb. 17)

Bryn Mawr knocked off five-time champion Holton-Arms, of Bethesda, in February 2010, to claim the school's first ever Maryland Scholastic Hockey League title.

And the Mawrtians came close to winning another championship.

Bryn Mawr led early in the third period, 2-1.

Holton-Arms, however, got two goals 4:20 apart from then-freshmen Blair Greenwald to dash the Mawrtians' repeat bid.

"They have a lot of depth and high-quality players," said Maureen Walsh, who serves as coach of Bryn Mawr with Delbert Adams. "So we kept calling on the seniors. We kept rotating these kids in. For some of our players, the intensity of the game is almost overwhelming."

Caroline Doyle and Sam McGee scored for Bryn Mawr. Maggie Cashman and Anna Feiss were credited with assists.

But the best Mawrtian performance may have come from senior goalie Cecilia Depman, who recorded 25 saves.

"She played an extraordinary game and made some phenomenal saves," Walsh said.

For Bryn Mawr, it's a three-peat (Nov. 6)

Bryn Mawr became the only soccer team to ever capture three Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championships when the Mawrtians edged Severn, 2-1, at Gerstell Academy in Finksburg.

"The girls did a great job of accomplishing it," Bryn Mawr coach Tina Steck said. "It's pretty special to do it. Rarely do teams get an opportunity to repeat three times."

It's no surprise who keyed the third title: University of Maryland recruit Riley Barger.

She scored one goal and assisted on the other.

"Riley is a program changer," Steck said. "She does it unselfishly, but she steps up when she needs to."

Ellie DeGarmo also scored for the Mawrtians.

Bryn Mawr's defense of Abby Del Guercio, Kassandra Bowling, Nancy Dunbar and Tess Moran in front of goalie Zoe Derrickson tightened up late in the game to preserve the victory.

Reds take on new challenge (Feb 6)

The Roland Park squash team took a step up in competition, participating in the 2011 Division I national tournament.

That move came after the Reds won the 2010 national championship.

Roland Park coach Pat Wong said her program is on the rise and growing in popularity.

"For a few years to come, we are going to be strong," she explained. "We (had) about 50 girls playing squash in the upper and lower schools. That's a huge number. The biggest ever."

Katie Tutrone, Erin Golueke, Caroline Chriss, Casey Merbier and Wong's daughter Lindsay led the 2011 Reds

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