Looking at the boys basketball division races after some snow days [Commentary]

I promised at the end of last week's column that I'd cover the Susquehanna (lower) Division boys basketball race in this edition, and I plan on doing so, but let me complain a bit first. It's a common human error to think that things are worse right now than they ever were in the past, but, honestly, other than the 2009-10 season, during which the fabled Blizzard of 2010 dumped 50-plus inches of snow on us, I can't remember a winter sports campaign in the last seven years that has seen more delays and disruptions than the current one. You had snow cancellations directly after the winter holidays, cold-weather cancellations a few days after that, then the Martin Luther King holiday-mini-blizzard combo this week. The number-one problem with this season's recalcitrant weather, aside from the log jam of games that we're going to see over the following weeks, is that a few UCBAC teams have played a grand total of three times in the last month. We are just before the halfway point in the division schedules, which is right when every game is make-or-break for those that want to win a Susquehanna or Chesapeake (upper) title, and playing just three, four or even five times over a four-week span is not enough to keep everyone in fighting trim. So, I'm hoping that everyone, not just the boys basketball players, has been working out at home and stretching, which is absolutely not what I do when I have a snow day.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that on the day my last column came out, when I wrote glowingly about Joppatowne running to the front of the Chesapeake Division standings after being promoted from the Susquehanna Division, Fallston, as though the Cougars had read the column and decided to make me look foolish, knocked off Joppatowne on a last-second three pointer. That's what I get for spending too much time talking about one team.

As the seven-team Chesapeake Division is an all-Harford County affair this year, there are only three local teams battling for the Susquehanna crown (division record in parenthesis): Bel Air (5-0), Harford Tech (2-2) and Havre de Grace (3-2). I'll start with Bel Air, since the Bobcats jumped to the front of the standings with an impressive three-victory run last week. Outside of the division, the Bobcats have a subpar 1-4 mark, but once you put them up against a Susquehanna team, watch out. In the aforementioned run of three wins last week, the Bel Air boys topped Rising Sun by 45, beat Bo Manor by 29, then capped off the run with a 29-point win over Harford Tech. If you look back a little bit, you'll see that Bel Air also had a pretty good tangle with Fallston, losing to the Cougars by a single point, 51-50, on Dec. 11. It's too early to call for a perfect, 14-0 division run, and I don't want to jinx anyone else, but my bet is on the Bobcats to win the Susquehanna. Look to see what Bel Air does tonight (Friday) playing against Havre de Grace. I think that game will tell us a lot.

Speaking of Havre de Grace, the Warriors, like Bel Air, had a fine run last week, winning both of their division games to get back over the .500 mark following a 1-2 start to the Susquehanna schedule. The Warriors two division losses came to North East, which is tied with Havre de Grace at 3-2, and Harford Tech, which is sitting a half game back (more on those fellows in a minute). A 3-2 division mark with more than half the schedule left to play is not that bad at all, but the Warriors are going to have to stand tall against Bel Air this evening if they want to stay in the running.

After starting off their division games with two victories over Elkton and Havre de Grace (beating those teams by six and seven points, respectively), the Harford Tech Cobras fell in back-to-back games last week, the second of which was a 29-point shellacking at the hands of Bel Air that I've already pointed out. Like Havre de Grace, the Cobras aren't out of it yet, though they'll certainly have to beat Bel Air in the Feb. 14 rubber match. Harford Tech squares off with Havre de Grace next Friday night, and that should be a good one, seeing as how the last matchup between the two ended in a 55-48 win for the Cobras.

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