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Varsity Letters News and notes on Baltimore area high school sports
McCormick Unsung Heroes to be honored Monday night

For the 75th straight year, McCormick will honor football and girls basketball players from high schools in Baltimore City and Baltimore County who don't grab headlines, but make significant contributions to their teams, at the McCormick Unsung Hero Awards banquet Monday night at Martin's Valley Mansion in Cockeysville.

More than 70 public, private and parochial schools are represented among the 118 nominees. One boy and one girl will receive Charles Perry McCormick Scholarships valued at more than $40,000 over four years.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will give the keynote address.

The nominees: 

ACCE: Kelcey Oliver, basketball

Archbishop Curley: Marty Costes, football

Archbishop Spalding: Emily Allender, basketball; Zachary Vance, football

Baltimore City College: Shantajah Marshall, basketball; Adam Howard, football

Baltimore Poly: Maya Horne, basketball; Daniel Cameron, football

Ben Franklin: Shellia Rozier, basketball; Malik Rodriguez, football

Bluford Drew Jemison: Taynor...

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Milford Mill grad Tyson Smith set to play hoops at Loyola University Chicago

Former Milford Mill basketball standout Tyson Smith announced he is transferring to Loyola University Chicago after spending his first college year at College of Southern Idaho.

Smith, a 2012 Milford Mill grad, averaged 18.3 points in his senior year to help lead the Millers to the Balimore County championship.

After spending a year at Westwind Prep Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, Smith went to Southen Idaho, a junior college which competes in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, where he averaged 10.5 points, 3.4 assists this past season.

Smith started his high school career at Owings Mills, helping the Eagles win a region championship in the 2010-11 season.

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IAAM postpones Friday, Saturday playoffs, badminton championships

Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland officials have postponed all playoff games scheduled for Friday and Saturday because at least one member school will be closed Friday and officials want to maintain consistency among all teams throughout the playoffs.

In an email announcement, IAAM officials cited "potential security threats, potential school closures and taking a proactive approach" to the playoffs as schools may opt to close to assure the safety of their students as uneasiness lingers following Monday's riots and as more protests are planned for this weekend.

Several IAAM schools are in Baltimore City and one, The Institute of Notre Dame, already has opted to close on Friday.

The postponements affect lacrosse and softball play-in games as well as the badminton championships.

The badminton finals, which include IND and were scheduled for Friday, will be moved to Tuesday at Roland Park.

In lacrosse, six play-in games -- four in the A Conference and two in the C Conference...

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Lake Clifton grad Durand Johnson transferring to St. John's

The past few seasons have been tough on Durand Johnson. Sixteen games into his redshirt sophomore season at Pittsburgh, the former Lake Clifton star tore his ACL. Then just days before the 2014-15 campaign, Johnson – fully recovered from his injury – was suspended for an undisclosed violation of school policy.

After two years of turmoil, Johnson finally had something to celebrate Wednesday. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound wing committed to play for St. John’s. He’ll finish his bachelor’s degree in social sciences at Pittsburgh and have immediate eligibility for the Red Storm as a graduate student.

“Oh man, it feels great,” said Johnson, who also visited West Virginia and was recruited by several other high-major schools. “It’s a relief now that I can just get ready to go to work.”

Johnson, who redshirted as a freshman during the 2011-12 season, was named Pittsburgh’s most improved player as a redshirt freshman and averaged 8.8 points in his injury-shortened sophomore year. Having played just 47...

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Matthew Hatton named new athletic director at Archbishop Curley

Archbishop Curley has hired Matthew Hatton as its new athletic director with his tenure set to start on July 1. He will succeed William Dawson, who is retiring after 28 years at the school.

Hatton is currently the men's lacrosse coach at McDaniel College, where he also serves as a physical education professor and academic liaison for the school's 24 varsity teams.  He is a 2001 graduate of Hobart College and also has a Master of Arts degree in counseliing at McDaniel.

“We are excited to have Matt join our staff bringing his energy and skillset to further strengthen our athletic program,” said Curley principal Brian Kohler from the school's press release.

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Edmondson grad Jaquan Smith picks Stephen F. Austin

As a first-year varsity player for Edmondson during the 2011-12 season, Jaquan Smith’s job was "just running, rebounding and blocking shots.” The lanky post played big minutes for the Class 2A North regional finalists, but he was really “just trying to learn the game.”

Three years later, Smith is preparing to join a Division I program that has made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. The 6-foot-8, 235-pound power forward committed last weekend to Stephen F. Austin.

“It feels great,” said Smith, who was also recruited by Abilene Christian, Coppin State, East Tennessee State, Louisiana Tech, Rider and several others. “It takes a load off my shoulders.”

Smith, who has spent the past two years at Northern Oklahoma College, came to the game later than most. He didn’t play for a major AAU program and was on the junior varsity at Woodlawn as a sophomore.

“I wasn’t on top of my game like everybody else. I needed more experience,” he said. “At Woodlawn I was just a guy. Just skipping classes...

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