ANNAPOLIS' BIG WIN TO GIVE IT TOP SEED, PROPHET PREDICTS

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Calling the Class 4A Region IV boys basketball playoffs was the highlight of Prophet Pat's 4-2 card last week.

The rage of a sage predicted that Old Mill would lose the top seed in the region by losing at Thomas Johnson in Frederick County, while defending state 4A champion Annapolis would keep winning and replace the Patriots.

Saturday night, Old Mill lost at Thomas Johnson, 78-63, while Annapolis destroyed North County, 100-48, and took the top seed. After outrunning Southern Tuesday, 98-84, the Panthers find themselves within one win of sealing the top seed and home-court advantage throughoutthe playoffs.

The Annapolis romp over North County was not a pick; it was too easy, so the sage took it off the board.

The Prophet also told you that Old Mill would bounce back from its loss to TJ andtake care of Arundel on Tuesday. That is precisely what the Patriotsdid, ripping the Wildcats, 77-52.

The Prophet missed two boys games, one just barely. The rage of sage took Meade at home Friday night, but the visiting Bruins handed it to the 'Stangs, 69-60.

"You're wrong again. Keep picking us to lose," said a Broadneck heckler on the other end of the phone line Friday night.

Severna Park won itsboys contest over Glen Burnie, as the Prophet predicted, but the Falcons didn't cover the five-point spread. The Falcons won, 68-67.

On the girls side, the Prophet was 2-for-2, including his uncanny prediction on the Old Mill-St. Mary's game. Having lost to the Saints in the Noel Classic at Archbishop Spalding over holidays, the sage said Old Mill would take the rematch. The Pats did, 59-52.

Finally, Northeast was tabbed as a six-point favorite over South River, and the Eagles easily covered, 48-37.

With the 4-2 slate, the Prophet lifted his overall record to 117-54, a percentage of .684.

This week's six-pack should be a breeze.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Glen Burnie (5-16) atAnnapolis (18-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday:

Chalk up win No. 19 and the top seed in Division 4A for the defending state champions of Annapolis. Coach John Brady's Panthers know the importance of this game and will come out smokin.'

The top two seeds gain first round byes in the playoffs set to begin next week, and numero uno enjoys home-court advantage throughout. That's what the Fighting Panthers want and will get.

Look for several guys to score in double digits, as Brady clears his bench in a game that probably will be over in the first half.

While Glen Burnie closes the book on a horrendous season, Brady will savor career win No. 296 and look to next week for a repeat statetitle and that coveted 300th win.

Annapolis plus 15 over Glen Burnie.

Meade (16-5) at Severna Park (10-11), 7:30 p.m. Friday:

The home-team Falcons have been on a roll, with six wins in their last seven games in their drive to nail down the fifth seed over LaPlata of Charles County.

An upset victory over fourth-seeded Meade would probably give the Falcons that fifth seed, but the Prophet doesn't expect it to happen.

On Jan. 4 at Meade, the Mustangs got buried, 79-59, with David Beck popping in 20 points. Meade might need a similareffort from Beck because the Falcons are much improved since then.

Scott Brown, Darrick Moran and Rich Riffle have been firing in pointsfor the Falcons, but Severna Park will need extra ammunition to pullthis one off.

This should be an exciting, high-scoring game, but Meade's better defense will be the difference in the final period.

Meade plus 2 over Severna Park.

North County (4-17) at Chesapeake (8-13), 7:30 p.m. Friday:

Host Chesapeake is not heading into postseason because they got hot too late, but they have an opportunity for what the Prophet believes is the Cougars' longest winning streak ever in boys' hoops, five straight.

Chesapeake stunned playoff-bound Northeast on Tuesday, 62-58, for its fourth in a row, as Justin Hall pumped in 19 points, 15 via three-pointers.

Coach Tom Kraning has watched this team put it together the last week and a half, certainly setting apositive tone for next season.

By contrast, the first-year Knights are ready to pack it in and look to the future, knowing the only place they can go is up.

Classy senior C.J. Prince, who had 31 points in his final home game Tuesday night -- a 72-64 loss to Severna Park -- will go out in style. The Prophet wouldn't be surprised to see himhit 30 again, but it won't be enough.

"In 16 years as a coach andteacher, C.J. certainly has been one of the most enjoyable kids I have ever coached," assistant coach Dan Krimmelbein said. "More importantly, I've had him in the classroom several semesters, and he's just a class act as a student and person."

Chesapeake plus 3 over NorthCounty.

Southern (11-10) at South River (11-10), 7:30 p.m. Friday:

Both these teams are headed for the playoffs, Southern in Class 2A Region III and South River in 3A Region IV, but neighborhood bragging rights along Route 214 are on the line here.

The Prophet can't remember the last time -- and it might be the first -- these twoteams met this late in the season with identical records. However, the Prophet does remember what happened the first time they met this year: The host Dawgs took it, 70-64.

The sage believes Southern will make it a series sweep tomorrow night.

The Prophet is basing this pick on the fact that the visiting Dawgs have dropped five in a row; it would be totally out of character for a Tom Albright-coached team to go into the playoffs with six straight losses.

South River iscoming off Tuesday's 66-49 victory over Pallotti of Laurel; Southernhad a 12-point lead at Annapolis in the first half before wilting inthe second and losing, 98-84.

But the way the struggling Dawgs played against the county's best team has got to be a confidence-booster that carries over into South River.

Albright will remind his troops how important it is to go into the playoffs on a win, especially when you've lost five in a row. The law of averages is on the side ofSouthern, in a game that could go into overtime.

Southern plus 1 over South River.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Arundel (15-6) at Broadneck (16-5), 5:15 p.m. tonight:

The upstart Wildcats are coming off Tuesday's 50-34 loss at Old Mill (19-2) and are getting the Bruins at a time when they appear to be gearing for a three-peat.

The two-time defending State 4A champion Bruins have reeled off seven in a row, including Tuesday's 58-40 rout of Glen Burnie (10-11) that clinched the second seed in 4A Region IV behind Old Mill.

With Broadneck lookingas if they are peaking at just the right time, you've got to say they are the team to beat.

Taking an eight-game win streak into postseason would be ideal for the Bruins, and that's exactly what they will do.

Broadneck plus 3 over Arundel.

North County (15-6) atChesapeake (8-10), 5:30 p.m. Friday:

Now here are a couple teams that are really tough to figure. Even the Prophet doesn't know what either will do.

North County had been playing well, then turned around and got hammered by injury-riddled Severna Park on Tuesday night,56-41, to fall from second seed to third. The Knights are in danger of slipping to fourth if they blow this one.

Severna Park (14-6), whose final game tomorrow night is at home against hapless Meade (2-17), is breathing down the Knights' backs.

Chesapeake, however, maybe flat after losing to Class 2A playoff-bound Northeast on Tuesday,48-28. Cougar coach Ginger Woods said as much afterward.

The Prophet sees this as a pivotal game for North County, a team he believes has the best material in the county. The Knights need to win this oneto go into the playoffs on a positive note; if not, they will be gone in the second round next week.

North County plus 4 over Chesapeake.

The Prophet to date

Right Wrong Pct.

117 54 .684

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