Rush hour on Interstate 95 between Baltimore and Washington will have a new meaning today for fans at Catonsville, where the boys and girls teams are top-seeded for the state Class 3A basketball tournaments being played at two sites.
"The main problem," said Comets girls coach Dennis Quinby, "has been figuring out the transportation so we can get down to College Park for the boys game and make it back to Catonsville Community College for our game."
The boys play Oakland Mills at Cole Field House at 5 p.m., so Quinby will van his girls down I-95 and back for their 9 p.m. game at Catonsville CC, also against Oakland Mills. The Comets spectators either will ride chartered buses or drive, but Quinby said working out all the arrangements has been hectic.
Quinby said he felt as if his team had sneaked into the playoffs. While the boys team drew much attention for its undefeated season, Quinby was starting three sophomores, a junior and senior Amy Evans, whom he called "our steadying force."
The Comets (21-3) have shown exceptional balance all season with junior Jill Alshuler (12 ppg) and sophomore Amy Kuehnl(10 ppg) pacing the offense. Sophomore Amanda Deems (7 ppg) teams in the backcourt with Alshuler. Sophomore Carey Shockney (8.5 ppg) and Evans (7.8 ppg) help with the rebounding, and all shared in the effective man-to-man press that ousted Bel Air in last week's region finals, 49-44.
Quinby said he is proudest of his academic standouts. "Jill, Carey and Amy Evans all carried 4.0 grade-point averages last quarter," he said.
Oakland Mills (22-2), meanwhile, got by Howard County rival Howard, 62-60, in the regional finals, despite playing without senior Stefanie Magro. She was rushed to Howard County General Hospital with severe abdominal pains several hours before last Saturday's region final.
Magro had an emergency appendectomy and is recovering comfortably, according to Oakland Mills athletic director Ken Klock. Obviously, she will not play tonight. Northern-Calvert (20-4) and DuVal (21-3) will meet at 7 p.m. in the other 3A semifinal.
In Class 4A today, it's top-seeded Old Mill (22-2) vs. Largo (19-5) and Frederick (14-10) vs. top-seeded Springbrook (23-1). Frederick got a 30-point effort from senior Latoya Hall in the regional finals to oust Woodlawn. Hall is a 5-foot-2 point guard who runs track in the spring.
In tomorrow's featured Class 2A semifinal, top-seeded Mount Hebron (21-3) will play at 5 p.m. against Howard County rival Glenelg (17-6). The Vikings have defeated Glenelg twice this season, 59-47 and 68-41.
If any girls team can claim to have a dynasty in the making, it's Mount Hebron. The Vikings have won Class 2A state championships in four of the last five seasons.