This weekend's 1st National Bank Charm City Basketball Classic at Loyola College features five of the nation's top 25 teams, according to last week's USA Today.
Out of the Northwest bracket, on Friday, St. Raymond's (N.Y.), ranked No. 19 nationally, meets The Baltimore Sun's No. 11 Walbrook at 3:30, followed by Lake Clifton -- No. 5 in The Sun -- taking on Prospect Hall at about 5:15.
Evening games out of the Southeast bracket feature top-ranked Southern-Baltimore -- ranked third nationally -- against sixth-ranked (nationally) Simon Gratz of Philadelphia, and No. 2 Dunbar, ranked No. 13 nationally, facing top-ranked Rice (N.Y.), featuring Felipe Lopez.
Lopez, considered the nation's best player, recently became the 16th New York player to surpass the 2,000-point milestone.
The Northwest bracket consolation title game is Saturday at 3:30, followed by the Southeast bracket consolation at about 5:15. The Northwest title game is at 7 p.m., and the Southeast title game is at 8:45.
Tickets are on sale at the participating schools as well as the Loyola College ticket office. For information, call (410) 617-5014. Tickets are $10 reserved and $7 general admission each night.
Also, Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams will be the featured speaker at the 1st National Bank Charm City Classic banquet Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Timonium Holiday Inn. The buffet breakfast is open to the public at a cost of $25. For ticket information, call (410) 583-6645. Ron Belinko, Baltimore County's coordinator of athletics, heads the state association's committee to study playoff qualifications.
The committee met last month to review its progress and to expand into various sub-committees designed to improve its exploration of the present point system and playoff structures.
"I think the committee is hard at work now coming up with an alternative open tournament format to present to the MPSSAA's Board of Control in April," Belinko said.
A few of the committee's findings were addressed in the winter edition of The Scout, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's progress bulletin.
According to the report, "preliminary sentiment has centered around the recommendation for some kind of open state tournament organized into four classifications."
Belinko said the highlight of the proceedings was a presentation by Gilman athletic director and football coach Sherm Bristow. Bristow, said Belinko, expressed his concerns over an ability to secure some public school rivals -- such as City -- on his Greyhounds schedule, as was traditional before Baltimore City public schools left the Maryland Scholastic Association for the state association.
"His report was of interest to a lot of the public schools from outside the area that were unaware of the make-up of the MSA," said Belinko. "He was expressing the concerns of a lot of private schools."
The committee is scheduled to submit its final sport in April.
Superprep Magazine recently named All-Metros Greg Kyler (running back, Poly) and Dwight Banks (wide receiver, City) to its All-America Team, and All-Metro Lamar King (Chesapeake, linebacker) to its All-Mid-Atlantic Team.
Duals to deliver
Beginning with No. 11 Owings Mills (8-0) against No. 10 Gilman (5-1) at 9:15 a.m., Saturday's Gilman Duals should be an exciting event once again.
Owings Mills edged Riverdale Baptist, 40-29, for third place last year, and Gilman nipped DeMatha, 32-27, for seventh, but this year's going could be much tougher.
The winner between the two local schools takes on the winner between defending champ Blair Academy -- New Jersey's No. 2-ranked team -- and Woodberry Forest (14-0), winner of the last 13 Virginia Prep League titles.
On the other side of the brackets, DeMatha -- ranked No. 5 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association -- takes on Riverdale Baptist, ranked No. 4 by the MSWA.
The Riverdale-DeMatha winner then tackles the victor between Oxford (Pa.) and Delaware's third-ranked St. Mark's.