Close games, blowouts and struggling for synonyms

I'm too tired to dazzle you with my introductory paragraph today, so let's cut to the chase, as they say. Here again are some numbers, facts, figures and tidbits that have been swirling around in my head for the last week or so. Enjoy:

140-47: That would be the combined point differential between the Aberdeen Eagles and their last two girls basketball opponents, Bel Air and Elkton. Aberdeen, at 4-0 having beat Milford Mill and the highly-touted McDonogh to start its season, is probably the best team in the state right now, and I'm betting that the Eagles defend their Class 3A state championship. If you remember, two seasons ago the Eagles were a few minutes away from bringing home their first state title, but suffered an upset loss Frederick in the 3A title game. If that game had gone differently, and the Eagles follow my predictions, we would be talking about three straight championships, which I don't think any team in this county aside from Fallston field hockey has ever done. Two straight is still pretty darn good, but the Eagles still have four-fifths of a season left to play. Hopefully they make it, because covering the state title game at UMBC is a lot of fun.

Three: That is the number of points that separated the C. Milton Wright Mustangs and North Harford Hawks in Tuesday's boys basketball matchup, which the Mustangs won, 49-46. In my last column I pointed out that there's been a load of tight boys basketball games so far, and this might have been the most exciting yet. CMW trailed by seven coming down the stretch, but battled back to earn the victory. As I said last week, if they keep pumping out two and three-point games, the boys basketball teams are going to give everyone a heart condition.

Three: That would be the number of points that separated the Joppatowne Mariners and Edgewood Rams in their Dec. 13 boys basketball matchup, which the Mariners won, 50-47. Do you see a pattern here? This game might be even more important than the one above, as the Rams are the defending Chesapeake (upper) Division champ, while Joppatowne is playing down in the Susquehanna (lower) Division. Cross-division games which are won by Susquehanna teams are rare enough, but the defending UCBAC title holder getting knocked off is nearly unheard of.

31: The number of points by which Edgewood beat Elkton boys basketball on Tuesday (62-31). That game was a rematch of last year's 2A East regional quarterfinal, so it means Edgewood's loss to Joppatowne isn't some sign of the Rams having dropped off, but more that Joppatowne has really upped its game.

Five: That is the number of terms with which I'm stuck to describe a wrestling match, and I've been struggling to switch all of them around so as not to inundate you readers. As I don't normally cover wrestling (I'm taking over coverage while editor Randy McRoberts is on vacation), writing about the sport is somewhat alien to me, and it's made worse by the fact that each of the 14 bouts that take place at a meet must be described with a different noun. So far, I have match (already used in this paragraph), bout (already used in this paragraph), contest, event (rarely used) and engagement (also rarely used, because I imagine the wrestlers gritting their teeth at having a tooth-and-nail fight with another athlete referred to as an "engagement). I'm getting better, but it's a slow process, just like most things.

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