For many Howard County girls basketball coaches, the holiday break is a great chance to see how their team stacks up against outside talent. Whether they’re playing in a home tournament, or one nearly three hours away, the opportunity to work out the kinks in preparation for that last stretch of county play is like a mid-season gift.
Some teams — like Reservoir and Marriotts Ridge — chose to skip the tournaments and work on getting better in practice.
With everyone gearing up for the long stretch of county play before the playoffs, it will be interesting to see which philosophy pays off. There are a number of exciting match-ups in the very near future in Howard County girls basketball. As far as these rankings go, there are no changes from last week. However, don't expect that to be a continuing theme moving forward.
1. Howard (6-0 county, 8-0 overall)
The Lions hosted their own holiday tournament over the break, and though they were tested early, the team remains Howard County’s lone undefeated program. Carroll County’s Liberty High School gave Howard a scare for much of the teams’ opening round match-up on Friday. But the team made adjustments at the half, limiting the visiting Liberty Lions’ opportunities from beyond the arc. Along with Reservoir, Liberty may have been one of the most complete teams to face Howard so far this season. It wasn’t flashy, but the Lions found a way to get it done, keeping their eight-game win streak alive and well.
Next two county games: at Wilde Lake (Jan. 3), vs. Mt. Hebron (Jan. 8)
2. Reservoir (4-2 county)
The Gators were idle over the holiday break. Coach Kyle Sullivan said his team prefers the extra practice time over playing in a tournament.
Next two county games: at Oakland Mills (Jan. 3), vs. Glenelg (Jan. 6)
3. Centennial (5-1 county, 6-3 overall)
Without one of their top scorers in Anna Mitchell, who was away for the holidays, the Eagles fell to Westminster before defeating St. Paul’s School for Girls in the North Carroll Holiday Hoops Tournament. There’s nothing new to report for Centennial talent-wise. It’s hard to judge a team based on its performance without a full roster.
Next two county games: vs. Long Reach (Jan. 3), at Glenelg (Jan. 8)
4. Mt. Hebron (4-2 county, 5-3 overall)
After going 1-1 in the Lady Millers Holiday Tournament, Hebron is one of the few teams that will play another game outside the county (Dunbar) before Friday. With the entire roster back, fans can count on this squad making a little bit of noise down the stretch.
Next two county games: at Atholton (Jan. 3), at Wilde Lake (Jan. 6)
5. Atholton (4-2 county, 6-2 overall)
A runaway win over Don Bosco in the opening round of the Roberts Oxygen Holiday Classic at Springbrook High School set up an inner-county championship game against Wilde Lake on Friday. Playing without a few starters, the Wildecats were no match for the Raiders’ high-powered offense, which seems to improve in every game.
Next two county games: vs. Mt. Hebron (Jan. 3), at River Hill (Jan. 6)
Teams on the rise:
River Hill (3-3 county, 5-3 overall)
Defeated Pocomoke and Stephen Decatur in its tournament on the Eastern Shore.
Next two county games: at Glenelg (Jan. 3), vs. Atholton (Jan. 6)
Glenelg (4-2 county, 5-3 overall)
Went 1-1 in the Milford Mill Tournament. Olivia Nowlin scored a personal season-high 22 points in a winning effort against Mervo.
Next two county games: vs. River Hill (Jan. 3), at Reservoir (Jan. 6)
Oakland Mills (2-4 county, 3-5 overall)
The Scorpions went 1-1 in their home tournament. After a big win against Chesapeake, Oakland Mills looked out of sorts against Poolesville. What was once a promising squad looking like a possible contender now needs to regroup in a big way.
Next two county games: vs. Reservoir (Jan. 3), at Hammond (Jan. 6)
Teams on the bubble:
Wilde Lake (2-4 county, 3-5 overall)
Long Reach (2-4 county, 4-5 overall)
Hammond (0-6 county, 1-8 overall)
Marriotts Ridge (0-6 county, 0-7 overall)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun