Once again, I'm going to forgo the normal power poll and just list the local teams alphabetically. Is this a cop-out? Yes, probably, but we're only halfway through the season, and there's one more week worth of games that I want to see before I start organizing anything. Here are some thoughts on your UCBAC boys basketball squads (keep in mind that I'm writing this on Wednesday):
Aberdeen: The Eagles, at 4-1 in Chesapeake (upper) Division play, are still very much in contention for a title and a trip back to the UCBAC championship game. They trail first-place Patterson Mill by one game and second-place Edgewood, which beat the Eagles handily, 50-39, last week, by half a game, so they will have to win their rubber match with Edgewood and probably both contests with Patterson Mill to come out on top.
Bel Air: The Bobcats (5-1 Susquehanna), second place in the lower division as of Wednesday, one game behind Joppatowne, have been living on the edge lately, as their last three games have all been decided by seven points or less. They topped Fallston, 55-48, on Jan. 9, lost a tough one to Havre de Grace, 65-61, two days later, then handed Perryville its first Susquehanna Division loss of the season two days after that, beating the Panthers, 59-54. Tonight's (Friday's) road game with Joppatowne will have a major impact on where the lower division title ends up.
C. Milton Wright: Mired at 1-4 in the Chesapeake standings with three other teams (Elkton, Fallston and North Harford), the Mustangs have lost three straight Chesapeake matchups after opening with a three-point victory over North Harford on Dec. 18. Remember though, and not to make the Mustangs relive what must be a painful memory, but they very nearly pulled off a one-point victory over Aberdeen, only to be thwarted by a half-court shot at the buzzer, so they've proven they can hang with the UCBAC's best teams.
Edgewood: I think last week that I said I'd bet on Edgewood to win the Friday matchup with Patterson Mill, but I would have lost money on that bet, as the Rams were handed their first Chesapeake Division loss with a 77-73, double-overtime defeat at the hands of the Huskies. It doesn't look to have fazed them though, as they bounced back on Monday and Tuesday with back-to-back, double-digit victories over CMW and Fallston. At 5-1 in the upper division, the Rams will have to beat Aberdeen a second time, and win the rematch with Patterson Mill, to grab the Chesapeake title.
Fallston: One of the four teams stuck at 1-4 in the Chesapeake Division, the Cougars have followed a big, 13-point win over CMW on Jan. 9 with double-digit losses to Elkton and Edgewood. They still have a lot of games left to play spoiler, and remember, they brought it down to the wire with Aberdeen right before the holiday break, so they have it in them to topple some of the bigger teams.
Harford Tech: Like the Chesapeake, the Susquehanna is full of teams with 1-4 division records, and Harford Tech is one of them. I still marvel at the Cobras holiday tournament performance, when they beat Elkton and Perryville in the span of two days at Cecil College. In the regular-season though, their lone division victory came against Rising Sun, which has the worst record in the UCBAC.
Havre de Grace: The Warriors, at 4-2 in the Susquehanna after losses to Perryville and first-place Joppatowne, must knuckle down and win just about all of their remaining division matchups to earn the title. They battled to a four-point win over Bel Air on Jan. 9 but then lost by 13 to Joppatowne last Friday by 13. The Feb. 1 rubber match with Bel Air will be interesting.
Joppatowne: Now at the top of the Susquehanna with a 6-0 mark after toppling Perryville, 69-58, on Tuesday night, the Mariners just have to hold tight and play like they have been, which is to say, stomping the opposition. In all six of Joppatowne's division victories, they've won by 11 points or more.
North Harford: The Hawks, after a promising start in which they dropped a tight game to CMW, then beat Elkton two days later on Dec. 20, have dropped three straight division games, the last two by more than 20 points. That said, when the Hawks are even halfway healthy, which they haven't been all season, they see results like a five-point, 41-36 loss to Edgewood on Jan. 4. If they can manage the injuries, they can play spoiler as the season winds down.
Patterson Mill: Like a lot of Patterson Mill's other sports teams, it didn't take long for the boys basketball squad to be promoted to the Chesapeake Division, and it didn't take them long to prove themselves a force there. After last Friday's double-overtime victory against Edgewood, the Huskies (5-0 Chesapeake), the only team in the UCBAC other than Joppatowne which hasn't suffered a division loss yet, are in first place, a half game ahead of Edgewood, and one game ahead of Aberdeen. The rematch with Edgewood is scheduled for Feb. 5, with the Rams hosting. Cross your fingers and maybe we'll see another overtime game.