How important are free throws?
Most coaches think they often are the difference between winning and losing. Some research reinforces that thinking.
Centennial and Atholton are leading the league with 7-1 records after Tuesday's games. Is it just coincidence those two teams have by far the best free-throw percentages in the league?
Here are the team foul shooting rankings through eight league games. This does not include nonleague games.
1. Centennial, 127-186, 69 percent; 2. Atholton, 120-172, 69 percent; 3. Glenelg, 127-206, 60 percent; 4. Oakland Mills, 77-131, 59 percent; 5. Mount Hebron, 68-116, 58 percent; 6. Howard, 76-139, 55 percent; 7. Hammond, 75-138, 54 percent; 8. Wilde Lake, 67-129, 52 percent.
Hammond has managed to overcome its poor foul shooting. The Bears are 6-2 in league play and in second place, despite shooting 54 percent at the line.
Atholton starter Marc Horner twisted his ankle against Howard last week and did not play in Tuesday's victory against Oakland Mills.
Wilde Lake's starting point guard, Barrett Wragg, missed two games with an undisclosed health problem, but returned to action Tuesday. Wilde Lake lost both games he missed against Hammond and Mount Hebron.
Turnovers hurt Lions
Howard boys basketball coach Kevin Broadus says that turnovers are the major reason behind his team's 2-12 season so far.
Howard's only league win was in overtime against Glenelg on a basket by Chris Smith, who is averaging 10 points.
Power forward Colin Izzard leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 135 points and 110 rebounds in 12 games.
* Beau Pick, Glenelg's strong-armed sophomore quarterback, will play for the new River Hill High School next season because of redistricting.
* Kurt Jestes, Howard County Basketball Player of the Year in 1994, is red-shirted at the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy, but the freshman expects to start next year. He's in a six-year academic program.
* Dan Sancomb of Howard Community College leads the Maryland JuCo conference in scoring with a 27.5 average and is second nationally among Division III JuCo schools. Howard is 14-7 overall and 7-4 in the league with six league games remaining.
* Nick Barnes' dunk against Hammond earlier this season was the first by a Glenelg player in seven or eight years, said Glenelg coach Klaude Krannebitter. Barnes is a 6-foot-5 freshman.
* Kevin Tonkins, one of Mount Hebron's top basketball players last season, is attending George Mason but is not playing basketball.