COACH OF THE YEAR
* Charlie Moore, Lake Clifton -- At times, Moore was animated on the sidelines, but he challenged his team to produce on the court this season.
The Lakers (23-1), ranked No. 13 in this week's USA Today's Super 25 poll, collected 10 victories over teams ranked in The Baltimore Sun Top 20 and defeated nationally ranked Lincoln of Brooklyn, N.Y., in January at the Charm City Classic.
Last weekend at Cole Field House, Lake Clifton rallied past Springbrook of Montgomery County, ranked No. 2 by the Washington Post, to win the state 4A championship.
The Lakers didn't always overwhelm opponents like previous top-ranked teams, but they met each challenge to become the first team to be ranked No. 1 for the entire season since Dunbar went 29-0 and won the national championship in 1991-92.
"He didn't put a lot of pressure on us," said senior guard and Player of the Year Shawnta Rogers. "He just said that this is our last go-around and we've just got to make it happen for us."
The 23 victories is the most by Lake Clifton since 1987-88, Moore's first season, when it went 20-6 and won the Metro Classic. In seven seasons at Lake Clifton, Moore has a record of 144-43.
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Lance Anderson, Randallstown, Sr., G -- Anderson's fiery demeanor on both ends of the court was the driving force for Randallstown's run to the state 3A championship. The 5-foot-10 guard led the Rams in scoring (16.3) and steals (112), and averaged five rebounds and 3.1 assists. His quickness sometimes hid his tough physical play. Anderson is considering Morgan State, Rockhurst College, Dundalk Community College
and Catonsville Community College.
* Travone Broadway, Walbrook, Sr., F -- The 6-4 Broadway was a major reason Walbrook bounced back from its first losing season in more than 15 years to go 15-5. A second-team All City/County selection as a junior, Broadway averaged 21.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Warriors, including a 41-point performance against Mervo. St. Bonaventure, Johnson C. Smith and Catonsville Community College are recruiting Broadway.
* Ronald Byrd, Lake Clifton, Sr., G -- Byrd stepped up in many big games for Lake Clifton all season, including against Abraham Lincoln of Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Charm City Classic in January, in which he scored a game-high 24 points to outshine teammate Shawnta Rogers and Lincoln's Stephon Marbury, the nation's top-rated guard. The 6-1 Byrd was the Lakers' second-leading scorer, averaging 14.8 points and 4.7 rebounds. Nebraska, Virginia Commonwealth and Northeastern are interested in Byrd.
* John Hemsley, Southern-Balto., Jr., F -- A reserve on last season's Southern squad, which finished No. 2 in the nation, Hemsley helped carry a young Southern team to the state 4A region final before losing to Lake Clifton. The 6-5 swingman averaged 17.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists, including a 47-point performance against Woodlawn in the state 4A region quarterfinal. Hemsley possesses great inside moves as well as a nice touch from the perimeter.
* Blanchard Hurd, Milford Mill, Sr., C -- Hurd may have been the most dominant post player in the area, averaging 28.9 points and 18.1 rebounds for Milford Mill, which reached the state 1A championship game before losing. Hurd, who signed with Loyola College in November, broke the career school record for points (1,617), rebounds (1,148) and blocked shots (234). Overpowering times in the paint, Hurd can hit the outside shot and handles the basketball well.
* Anton Jenifer, Walbrook, Sr., G -- His emergence as a scoring threat for Walbrook was probably the biggest reason that Walbrook was ranked in the area's top five for most of the season. The 5-9 Jenifer averaged 28.7 points and five assists for Walbrook, combining with Travone Broadway to produce the area's best scoring tandem. Among one of the area's best
outside shooters, Jenifer was aggressive driving to the basket. Howard, Bowie State, Johnson C. Smith and Catonsville Community College are interested in Jenifer.
* Mark Karcher, St. Frances, Soph., F -- Karcher, the state's top freshman last season, didn't miss a beat for St. Frances in his second season, averaging 21.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Karcher was named the Catholic League's outstanding player during the regular season and was the postseason tournament MVP. Only a sophomore, Karcher possesses a solid all-around game, as well as great court sense.
* Tommy Polley, Dunbar, Jr., F -- Polley brought his aggressive style from the football field, where he was named The Baltimore Sun Defensive Player of the Year, to the basketball court. The 6-5 Polley was the Poets' second leading scorer (15.2) and rebounder (9.8), and averaged 4.3 assists. Quick and athletic on both ends of the court, Polley is listed among America's top 20 juniors by Hoop Scoop, and Reidel's Roundball rates him the state's second-best underclassmen.
* Marvis Thornton, Dunbar, Sr., F -- Thornton averaged 22.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists for the area's top offensive squad. A dangerous open-court player, Thornton became a better rebounder and outside shooter. George Mason, Jacksonville, James Madison, Loyola, Loyola Marymount, Old Dominion, Providence and Towson State are recruiting Thornton.
* Billy Wells, Dunbar, Sr., G -- His outside shooting added another dimension to Dunbar's potent attack this season. Wells, 6 feet 2, averaged 13.7 points, 6.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds in helping the Poets to a third consecutive state championship. Wells often helped start the Poets' break with quick up-court passing or completed it with his left-handed jumper. Delaware, Duquesne, Jacksonville, Towson State, Virginia Commonwealth and Xavier are recruiting Wells.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: SHAWNTA ROGERS
Relentless. That's probably the best word to describe the performance of Lake Clifton senior point guard Shawnta "Nut" Rogers, The Baltimore Sun Baltimore City/County Player of the Year.
Standing only 5 feet 5, Rogers, the area's top college prospect, was the dominant figure on the court for No. 1 Lake Clifton, which won the state Class 4A championship last weekend at the University of Maryland.
With the Lakers trailing Springbrook of Montgomery County by four points late in regulation of the 4A final, Rogers hit a three-pointer, then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored on an off-balance shot. The Lakers eventually won, 65-63, and Rogers finished with 26 points.
"He's a special basketball player that comes once in a lifetime," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore. "He has been tremendous, especially in the clutch. In clutch times, clutch players step up, and he definitely stepped up all year."
Rogers did it all for Lake Clifton, averaging 24.2 points, 9.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 4.3 steals. In four seasons, he scored a school-record 1,731 points.
A three-time All-Metro selection by The Baltimore Sun, Rogers was named an All-American by College Sports Magazine and a " honorable mention preseason All-American by Street & Smith's. California, Clemson, Dayton, Maryland, Nebraska and Xavier are recruiting him. The Baltimore Sun 1994-95 All-Baltimore City/County, Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and City all-league boys basketball teams were selected by Derek Toney after consultation with staff writers and area coaches. The Catholic and Baltimore County all-league teams were selected by the league coaches.