Intriguing matchups looming in basketball tourney


Some games to watch in the boys basketball playoffs:

If top-ranked Dunbar, the No. 1 seed in Class 1A, Region II, beats No. 5 Brunswick tomorrow night and No. 2 Milford Mill beats No. 6 Wilde Lake, then the top-ranked Poets would play host to the 13th-ranked, defending state champion Millers on Friday at 7 p.m.

Watch for Dunbar's 6-foot-8 Norman Nolan -- a Milford Mill transfer -- going against the former teammates he led to last year's crown.

In a Class 4A, Region II contest, No. 2-ranked Lake Clifton -- the No. 3 seed -- travels to No. 2 seed High Point of Prince George's County for a game that many believe will yield the 4A state champion.

In the other Class 4A, Region II semifinal, unranked Poly travels to No. 1 seed and unbeaten Woodlawn, ranked No. 5 in the area.

On a mission.

Pikesville senior heavyweight Wayde Ezell can make history in a couple of days.

A 275-pound wrestler, he takes a 30-1 record into this weekend's state tournament at Western Maryland -- just three wins shy of his school's single-season record, set in 1989 by heavyweight Doug Avnet, who placed third in the state.

Also within striking distance is Avnet's winning streak (30 in a row). Ezell has not lost in 28 bouts, since being pinned by Dundalk's Don Forbes in his third match of the season in the title bout of the Loch Raven Invitational.

He avenged the loss to Forbes, 8-2, for the Hereford tournament title bout and later won the Friends tournament crown. Four more victories would give Ezell a 32-match winning streak and make him the Panthers' first state champion since Brian Hirsch (126) in 1982. Ezell finished fourth last year.

In the state tournament, Ezell likely will have to get past Oakland Mills' 230-pound county champ and Region III runner-up, Justin Wethington.

Ezell nailed a first-period pin in the title bout of last weekend's Region II tournament to dethrone Owings Mills' Clint Helphenstine.

"Wayde's time has come," said Pikesville coach Curt Boushell. "He's a great kid, and I'd love to see him be a state champ."

Did you realize?

How many of you were aware that 10 of the 26 finalists in last weekend's National Prep tournament at Lehigh University got their starts in Maryland junior league programs?

The champs were DeMatha's Crofton resident, Todd Beckerman 52-1, 42 pins); Calvert Hall graduate Greg Knox (112, 30-0) of the Peddie School in New Jersey; and Mount St. Joseph's Pasadena native, Shane McCarthy (140, 37-2). Knox has a three-year record of 97-1.

The runners-up were Gilman's Gerard Harrison (112, 35-1); Calvert Hall's Brendan James (135, 32-4); Annapolis graduate Chip Cochran (145), now a post-graduate at Blair Academy in New Jersey; Mount St. Joseph wrestlers Kevin Neville (152, 38-3) and Danny DeVivo (160, 36-3); Loyola's Dave Daniecki (189,

35-3); and Brian Dalton (171), a Howard County native wrestling at the Peddie School.

Pointing up

After watching his Sparrows Point basketball squad lose to Wilde Lake, 76-57, in a first-round Class 1A, Region II contest, coach Russ Lingner said, "This has been the greatest thrill of my life working with these young men."

His No. 3-seed Pointers (Wilde Lake was No. 6) were done for the year, but only after having nearly reversed their record of a year ago.

"Any team that goes from 3-18 to 15-5 with basically the same lineup, you have to love what they've done," said Lingner. "It's just been the greatest thrill of my life."

Classic setting

Tickets went on sale Monday for the 20th annual Capital Classic, which showcases the best local and national high school basketball talent. Tickets for the April 8 doubleheader (6 and 8 p.m.) at Cole Field House are $13, $10 and $8. For more information, call (301) 314-7083.

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