I'm still too full of food and beer to come through with a decent transitional paragraph, so I will instead go right to the heart of the matter, as it were. Here is the first "fun with numbers" column of 2013. Enjoy, folks:
One: That would be the number of points that separated the Harford Tech boys basketball squad from its competitors at the end of regulation time in back-to-back games at Cecil College's Green-n-Gold Holiday Tournament. Last Friday, the Cobras took the Green Bracket title game by defeating Elkton, 45-44, and the previous day, Harford Tech took its game with Perryville into overtime after the fourth quarter ended in a 49-49 deadlock. The Cobras went on to beat Perryville, which had was undefeated at 5-0 up to that point, 60-49 by outscoring the Panthers, 11-0, in the first extra period. Two tight victories over two quality opponents in the space of 24 hours is a pretty solid achievement, especially considering that the Cobras started the season with one win against three losses, and two of those losses saw Harford Tech beaten by more than 20 points. Also, though I'm a Cecil County native, I've been writing about Harford County teams for so long that I tend to silently root for them, and I like to see local teams win holiday tournaments on foreign soil. Well done, Cobras.
Two: That would be the number of losses the Aberdeen girls basketball squad suffered over a two-day period last week. The Eagles, defending Class 3A state champs, who had been steamrolling Harford County opponents and had worked their way to a perfect 5-0 record heading into the National Title IX Holiday Invitational Tournament, were topped, 48-41, on Dec. 27 by the Hoover, Ala., team, also a defending state champ, in the tournament's opening round. The next day, the Eagles were knocked off, 56-39, by the Riverdale Baptist squad from Upper Marlboro. Aberdeen closed out the event on Saturday with a 46-38 victory over Washington, D.C.'s, H.D. Woodson team.
Now, I said a few weeks ago that Aberdeen, following the Eagles 57-51 win over McDonogh, were arguably the best team in the state, and that I wouldn't be surprised if they repeated as 3A champs. Does a pair of losses change that at all? Not a bit. Teams like the Eagles do not benefit by playing in tournaments that feature teams they would bump off easily. If you're coming off a very successful season and want to make sure your team is in fighting shape, and not getting complacent, you put it in an event that has some bigger, badder squads that are going to give you trouble. On the boys basketball side, look at John Carroll, one of the select few high school teams to win 30 games last season. The Patriots traveled to Hawaii over the break to play in the Iolani Classic, which featured, I think, three or four schools that have top-10 national rankings.
So, as I said, I'm still calling for Aberdeen to make it back to the 3A title game.
21: That is the number of days until the Friday, Jan. 25 boys basketball grudge match between Aberdeen and C. Milton Wright. I'm sure this next one won't feature a 60-foot, game-winning three-pointer, as the last one did, but I'm willing to bet that the CMW boys, who lost to Aberdeen, 57-56, on Dec. 20, are going to be really fired up for this one. I won't make any predictions, but just know that these two teams have had a lot of close tangles over the last few years, with the most recent one being the most exciting, and I think this one will be pretty entertaining as well.
Seven: That would be the number of pounds I gained between Monday afternoon and Wednesday morning, with all of the New Year's excesses tempting me. I didn't think it was possible to pack it on that quickly, but I did it. I see a lot of hill sprints in my future, and lots of Ibuprofen as well.
Here's to a productive and slim 2013.