LOOKS LIKE SUSPENSE IS OVER: ANNAPOLIS WILL BE NO. 1

THE BALTIMORE SUN

It looks like the party is over for the playoff teams in Class 4A Region IV boys basketball because defending State 4A champion Annapolisis going to No. 1 seed once again.

That is the result of Old Mill losing at Thomas Johnson (15-3) in Frederick County Saturday night by 15 points. The defeat left the Patriots at 15-5 overall, but 14-4 with 107 points in games that count toward postseason. Christmas tournament games do not count.

The 107 points, which figures out to a playoff points average of5.94 in 18 games, leaves Old Mill second to Annapolis in the region.Annapolis has 115 points on its playoff qualifying record of 15-3 (17-3 overall) and that is a playoff average of 6.38, tops in the region.

That includes the Annapolis demolition at North County Friday night, 100-48. Annapolis led, 37-11, at the end of the first period and by halftime it was over, 65-15. Coach John Brady, in a gentlemanlygesture, called off the dogs in the second half with the Panthers outscoring the Knights, 35-33.

Barring a colossal upset in its final two games, which are at home vs. Southern (Tuesday) and Glen Burnie(Friday), the Fighting Panthers are going to take the region for the11th time in coach John Brady's 14-year tenure. Winning the region and taking top seed means home court advantage throughout the playoffsand that gives a team a distinct edge.

The top two seeds get first-round byes and only have to win two games to make it to Cole FieldHouse at the University of Maryland for the state playoffs the weekend of March 7-9.

Annapolis seldom loses at home and this season alone is 11-1 in the friendly confines of the Panther Den. The only home loss came to Baltimore's top-ranked Dunbar, 80-61.

It's almostetched in stone now that the top four Region IV seeds will go like this when the playoffs begin the week of Feb. 25: 1. Annapolis, 17-3, 129 maximum points, 6.45; 2. Old Mill, 16-4, 123 points, 6.15; 3. Broadneck, 15-4, 112 points, 5.89; and 4. Meade, 15-5, 117 points, 5.85.

Those of course, are projected records with each of the top fourwinning their final two games as expected. Southern (11-9) and

Glen Burnie (5-14) aren't expected to give Annapolis much of a fight.

Old Mill closes with home games Tuesday and Friday vs. Arundel (6-12)and Queen Anne's (5-13).

With 7-foot-2 German transfer Boris Beck getting more playing time, the Bruins of Broadneck have been on a tear. They notched their fifth in a row Friday, 69-60, at Meade with Beck pouring in 20 points, and that put the Bruins in position to finish third in the region with a remote shot at second seed.

The Bruins start this week at 13-4 (16-4 overall) with 96 playoff points and an average of 5.64 good for third. Meade is 13-5 (15-5 overall) with 101 points, an average of 5.61.

Broadneck needs to win its final two games at home vs. Glen Burnie and Arundel and hope for an upsetof Old Mill. If not, the Bruins will take third over the Mustangs ofMeade and play host to the sixth seed in the first round.

Meadehas a lock on fourth seed with the teams that take No. 5 and 6 seedstoo far away to catch them. The 'Stangs' final two are on the road at Queen Anne's and Severna Park (9-11). The Falcons have come on in recent weeks driving to the playoffs with five wins in their past six games.

Severna Park is fighting LaPlata of Charles County for thefifth spot. An upset of Meade could give the Falcons a shot, but No.6 is more likely for them, which means a trip to Broadneck in the first round.

What's interesting is that Severna Park has matched upwell against Broadneck. The Falcons have lost both regular season games to Broadneck, but only by a combined total of four points, 57-56 and 67-64.

The winner of No. 6 at No. 3 travels to Annapolis in the region semis. And believe me, saying Annapolis is going to be No. 1 is not sticking my neck out. It's a definite.

Another interesting item in this whole scenario is that Brady has 294 career wins in less than 14 seasons. Do you realize that's an average of over 20 winsa season?

That's kind of unbelievable when you think about it. And if the Panthers win their two regional games and return to CollegePark an 11th time in Brady's 14 years, a repeat state title would give the controversial, white-haired coach his 300th in the finale.

Yes, a repeat state championship victory would put Brady at the 300-win plateau faster than anyone has ever reached it in the metro area.I know for sure that Brady would then retire as hoops coach at Annapolis.

That doesn't mean he wouldn't coach anywhere else, because I believe he will, but he will be finished at Annapolis with an unapproached record. That record would be 300-47.

Of course, repeatingas state champion is not guaranteed, especially with Brady's currentedition. This is a team hard to read. One night they look like one of the best ever assembled at Annapolis, and on another night, they can look like one of the worst.

It's a hot and cold team, that needs to get hot right now to win it all again. If they don't, there are at least three other teams in Region IV waiting to wear their cloak.

Get ready hoop fans, because this Class 4A Region IV tournament is going to be a classic, but you have to say that Annapolis is still the team to beat.

While their chances of gaining sixth seed don'tseem automatically possible, you have to say congratulations to Tom Kraning and his Chesapeake Cougars who ran their overall record to 7-13 with probably the biggest win in Kraning's six-year tenure Friday night.

Chesapeake won at Southern in Harwood, 67-59, as junior guard Justin Hall bagged 20 points while teammates Lew Van Wambeke and Bryan King chipped in with 16 and 12 points each.

"It was a greatwin for us," said Kraning. "As you know that's (Southern) a tough place to play, but the kids were up to it. We outscored them, 25-10, inthe last period, hitting 16 of 17 free throws.

"My kids handled the ball real well and hit their foul shots."

Kraning had just last week put his troops through several hours of nothing but free-throw shooting practice and it paid off.

Also, over the weekend, coach Jim Doyle's Severn Admirals ran their overall record to 13-6 overall and 11-4 in the Maryland Scholastic Association "C" Conference witha 51-42 win over Lutheran of Baltimore on Friday.

Severn got 15 points from sophomore Jake Mack as the Admirals tuned up for the MSA C Conference playoffs. Coach Doyle's team ranks as a dark horse in the upcoming tournament.

In the Northeast boys' 75-60 romp over South River Friday night, which gave the Eagles a repeat 3A/2A league title, Gene Pleyo assisted on nine buckets to set a new single-season record with two games left.

Pleyo now has 121 assists, eclipsing the previous school record of 117 set by 3A/2A Player of the Year in 1985, Uwone Jackson.

Northeast has clinched second seed in Class 2A Region III.

In men's college hoops, Anne Arundel Community College ran its overall record to 25-4 Saturday with a 110-60 romp at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Md.

Ronnie Wade and Ray Osborne tallied 24 points each topace five Pioneers in double digits. Wardell Chambers bagged 19, and 12 points each came from Butch Williams and James Sharps.

Coach Mark Amatucci's Pioneers conclude their regular season today at Frederick Community College.

Navy's Ice Hockey club team (12-4-1) got hammered in the Northeastern Collegiate Hockey playoffs by the host University of Rhode Island (15-2), 7-1, on Saturday.

"We were never a factor in the game. We got murdered," said Navy coach Jim Barry. "It was 3-0 at the end of the first period, 5-0 at the end of the second and we only got off 8 shots in the first two periods, 17 total for the game.

"They (Rhode Island) took 28 shots."

Barry, whose team went into the game ranked No. 7 in the nation for club hockey and is headed for the National Ice Hockey Club Tournament Feb. 27, was totally dominated by the fifth-ranked U.R.I. The latter had recently finished third in Navy's 14th Annual CrabPot Tournament, but didn't get to play the host Mids after being upset by West Chester, 6-4.

Navy defeated West Chester, 5-3, in the Crab Pot final, but proved to be no match for Rhode Island Saturday.

"We just didn't have it, and I couldn't tell if they were that good, or we were that bad," said a dejected Barry.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
41°