On Monday, No. 7 New Town upset Class 3A defending champion Milford Mill, 68-64, to end the No. 4 Millers' 99-game winning streak against Baltimore County opponents.
The day before, with a roster dominated by juniors, the No. 3 Calvert Hall boys basketball team came from behind to defeat St. Frances for the first time in eight games to finish the regular season with a 26-4 record -- twice as many wins as the Cardinals had last year.
With City returning their entire starting lineup and adding senior standout Kamau Stokes this season, the No. 1 Knights have rolled to a perfect 18-0 season despite being targeted as the team to beat in Baltimore City.
And then there's No. 5 Lake Clifton, which came into the season unheralded without much size and experience. Now, the Lakers are 15-2 and will face the Knights in the Baltimore City Division I championship game.
The common denominator for all four teams is exemplary coaching jobs.
New Town (15-4) started the season with a 3-4 record, but the Titans have won 12 straight games with veteran coach Mike Daniel getting everything out of his roster.
The improvement that the Titans have methodically shown has taken place at both ends of the court and was evident against Milford Mill on Monday. They ran their offense efficiently behind senior point guard Danny Shand. They showed extra effort while dominating the boards and poise in closing out the win at the free-throw line.
At Calvert Hall, John Bauersfeld has the Cardinals playing as one unit and believing in what they are doing. Each player has accepted his respective role -- some sacrificing personal gains -- and they have all stepped up.
City may have the most talent in the Baltimore area, but that can only take a team so far. With All-Metro second-team standouts Timmy Bond, Omari George and Stokes, a transfer from Dunbar, leading the talented cast, coach Daryl Wade has made sure the Knights continually play together and have used the surplus of talent to their advantage.
When a timeout is called and a basket is needed, who knows who is going to take the shot. For whomever the play is designed, that player has responded.
Lake Clifton teams under Herman "Tree" Harried always play hard and disciplined, but it looked like there were some other teams in Baltimore City to give the Knights a bigger test this season.
But the Lakers play dogged team defense, have received fine play from guards Elijah Kess and Stephon Brown, collectively hit the boards and do all the little things needed to win games.
Each coach has taken what they have to work with and gotten the absolute most from the players.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun