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Carroll Christian Patriots

1995-96 record: 18-8

Coach: Randy Peterson

Top players: Josh Belcher, 5-10, Sr., G; Casey Davis, 5-10, Sr., G; Matt Runkles, 6-1, Sr., F-C; Sam Lieb, 6-1, Jr., F; Jadon Good, 6-2, Jr., F; John Brunson, 6-2, Jr., F; Roger Davenport, 5-11, Jr., G; Ethan Siminton, 6-2, Jr., C.

Outlook: This team has talent. The Patriots won the PCAC and MACS tournaments last year and, with plenty of returnees, should be in the hunt again. Belcher ( 15.1 points last year), Good (12) and Brunson (12) lead a lineup that averaged 71 points per game last year -- and has scored 78 and 72 in the first two games this year. The Patriots have lots of talent, quickness, depth and offensive firepower. They also work hard and hustle often. Peterson's main concern is the Patriots lack a little size and could struggle a bit inside. Other than that, this team can do a whole lot.

Francis Scott Key

1995-96 record: 11-12

Coach: Jeff Cook.

Top players: Kevin DeCarlo, 6-4, Jr., C; Brad Stonesifer, 6-3, Sr., F; Jesse Brossiot, 5-11, Sr., G; Josh Hollman, 5-9, Jr., G; Steven Webb, 6-3, Jr., F.

Outlook: This team has lots of potential but is very young and inexperienced in spots. The Eagles have some good size inside, led by DeCarlo and Stonesifer and can play well in the paint. They also have some balance thanks to some good outside shooting ability. The lack of a proven scorer could cause some early-season problems until someone steps up to assume that role. In addition, the always-brutal Monocacy Valley Athletic League schedule won't help matters. Cook likes the talent he has, the question is when it all can come together and if Key can continue its rise of the past few years.

Liberty Lions

1995-96 record: 12-11

Coach: Scott Kohr

Top players: Luke Vriezen, 6-2, Sr., C/F;; Artie Burkindine, 5-11, Sr., G.; Jeff Wharton, 6-5, Sr., F; Bill Marriott, 6-1, Sr., F; Brian Burke, 6-1, Sr., G; Tom Stevens, 5-10, Sr., G

Outlook: The Lions posted their first winning season since 1983 last year and, with seven returning, the picture appears bright again. But the Lions lost nearly 50 points to graduation and just one starter returns, so the question is how the new starters will fare. Kohr has some real talent with guys who know the system. The Lions, led by Vriezen and Wharton and others, have some good size and will work hard at punching the ball inside. Kohr said several of his players worked hard during the off-season to improve. The team has been a bit inconsistent in early scrimmages, which concerns the coach a bit, but the talent is there to do good things if everything comes together.

North Carroll Panthers

1995-96 record: 6-16

Coach: Troy Warehime.

Top players: Tony Reightler, 5-10 , Sr., G; Justin Malbrough, 6-3, Sr., F; Dave Nowicki, 6-0, Sr., G; Todd Asplen, 6-0, Jr., F; Greg Miller, 5-8, Sr., G

Outlook: The Panthers are looking to come closer to .500 this year. They're small, but they have more quickness than in the past and better team chemistry. North Carroll relied heavily on Jason Gelb last year, but the Panthers have several players who can score this year. Reightler, Malbrough and Nowicki will be counted upon to come up big, especially early. But the team still lacks size inside and experience in different spots. The potential is there, however, for improvement.

South Carroll Cavaliers

1995-96 record: 3-15

Coach: Jim Carnes

Top players: Neil Petroski, 5-10, Sr., G; John Ely, 5-8, Jr., G; Brad Johnson, 6 -3, Sr., F; Matt Steppling, 6-4, Sr., F; Mike Tompkins, 5-10, Sr., G.

Outlook: The Cavaliers have four new starters, but they should be improved over last year. Johnson and Steppling give South Carroll some good size up front, and it has better shooting than last year. The questions still remain, however, for Carnes and his team. The Cavs have plenty of seniors, but a lot of them lack game experience. The team also does not have a lot of depth. There are also questions about how the new players will fare at the varsity level. The Cavaliers also must be better ball-handlers and rebounders.

Westminster Owls

1995-96 record: 9-14

Coach: Dave Byers

Top players: Desmond Esteves, 5-10, Jr., G; Billy Mays, 6-0, Sr., G; Justin Geiman, 6-3, Sr., F; Tim Frame, 5-9, Sr. G; Aaron Krug, 6-0, Jr., G; Matt Bowers, 6-3, Jr., F.

Outlook: The county champs return a lot of kids who saw a lot of playing time last year. The Owls had some growing pains, especially early in the season, but Byers liked what he saw later. Much of this team's strength is in the backcourt, led by Esteves at the point. He averaged nearly 7 assists and 3.5 steals per game last year. Frame and Krug also can play the point, which gives Byers several nice lineup options. The speed and quickness also will help on defense, but the team does lack size, which could hurt at times. The Owls also don't have a proven scorer as yet. They have players with that ability, but Byers hopes they can show it at the varsity level. Another problem is the always-tough Central Maryland Conference schedule -- and the Owls also play some difficult non-conference foes from Montgomery County. This team is growing, however, and should give .500 a run.

Pub Date: 12/03/96

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