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Howard County team previews Local Sports: Basketball Previews

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Atholton Raiders

1995-96 record: 14-7 overall, 11-3 league, county co-champs. Coach: Jim Albert.

Top players: Keith Jefferson, 5-10, Sr., G; Bryan Worsley, 6-3, Sr.; Jahmaar Stafford, 5-10, Sr., G; John Harvey, 6-1, Sr., F; Jared Albert, 6-0, Jr., G; Ryan Lambert, 6-3, Jr., F.

Outlook: The Raiders are three-time defending county champions and are proud of that dominant streak, even though they shared the title with Centennial last season. The Raiders made a respectable showing in the regional quarterfinals, losing by 12 points to eventual state champion Dunbar. The dominant players of that team have all graduated, however, so this appears to be a rebuilding year. "We're small, inexperienced and don't have a lot of shooting," said coach Albert, who is back for his 17th season. "We could be fairly quick, but not like in the past. We'll still play an up-tempo, full-court style." Some coaches don't think Atholton's rebuilding will take that long. The Raiders finished second in the Watkins Mill summer league, and then won the Howard Community College league, but lost to Centennial in the playoffs at the buzzer.

Centennial Eagles

1995-96 record: 18-6 overall, 11-3 league, county co-champs. Coach: Jim Hill.

Top players: Matt Laycock, 6-5, Sr., C; Denny Chapman, 6-4, Sr., F; Brian Otten, 6-2, Sr., F; Scott Bross, 5-10, Sr., G; Andy McShane, 6-6, Jr., F; Chip Harrison, 5-10, Sr., G; Aaron Williams, 5-10, Sr., G; Andres Conejo, 6-0, Jr., G.; Keith Williams, 5-10, Jr., G.

Outlook: The Eagles return all but one starter from a co-championship season -- their second in the past four years. The returnees include leading scorer Laycock (15 points, seven rebounds), Chapman (12 points), Otten (eight points) and Bross (10 points). McShane or Aaron Williams could fill the fifth starting spot when the season begins. Laycock, a first-team All-County pick could dominate inside this season in the absence of players like Wilde Lake's 6-8, 250-pound Carl Jackson, who is now at Penn State. Bross, the point guard, moves the ball well. Otten is an unselfish all-around player with a propensity for clutch shooting. Chapman is a solid scorer and rebounder. The Eagles are quick and work extremely well as a unit. They have size, depth and experience, so they loom as the favorite to win another county title. They also have a chance to advance beyond the regional semifinals where they lost last season to Carver, 73-72. Although it has a veteran, senior-laden starting team, Centennial also has talented juniors, including Conejo, McShane and Keith Williams. So the future also looks bright. "I'm encouraged by our juniors. We should be competitive," said Hill, who is coaching his 13th season.

Chapelgate Christian Flames

1995-96 record: 10-9. Coach: Gary Berwager.

Top players: Josh Barlow, 6-2, Sr., G; Chris Davidson, 5-10, Soph. G; Richard Price, 5-10, Jr., G; Dan Bird, 6-0, Jr., F; Tim Hazelhorst, 6-2, Sr., F; John Ring, 6-4, Soph., F; Nathan Brenneman, 5-10, Sr., G.

Outlook: The Flames return leading scorer Davidson (18 points), and have another experienced guard in Barlow (12 points, eight rebounds, five assists). Price played a backup point guard position and averaged four points and three assists. Bird averaged seven points and seven rebounds. The Flames have added a little more height with Hazelhorst and Ring, and they expect to improve upon last season's record in the Christian Schools Athletic Association.

Glenelg Gladiators

1995-96 record: 6-14 overall, 2-12 league. Coach: Klaude Krannebitter.

Top players: Nick Barnes, 6-8, Soph., C; Chuck Kennedy, 6-2, Sr., G; Todd Brian, 6-1, Sr., G/F; Dan Stolper, 6-1, Sr., F; Matt Mulhern, 6-2, Sr., F; Eric Krausse, 6-4, C; Brandon Robertson, 5-10, Soph., G.

Outlook: The Gladiators graduated seven of their top eight players from last season. The only returnee who say much playing time is Barnes, a 230-pounder who grew three inches since last season and was the leading scorer in Glenelg Country School's summer league that included teams from Howard, South Carroll, Liberty and Mount Hebron. "Barnes is looking real good," Krannebitter said. "He can shoot a three-pointer or a 17-foot jumper." Ball-handling will be a weakness and with Barnes in the lineup don't look for the Gladiators to run. They'll play their normal matchup zone defense with Kennedy as the best defensive player. Krannebitter has a new assistant coach, Mike Caproilla, a doctor of exercise physiology at Howard

University and a former assistant coach to Lefty Driesell at Maryland.

Glenelg Country School Dragons

1995-96 record: 9-13 overall, 3-7 MIAA C Conference. Coach: John Aquila.

Top players: Jason Greenberg, 6-0, Fr., G; Eric Greenberg, 6-0, Jr., G; Garth DeAngelis, 6-4, Soph., F; Pat Dennison, 6-3, Jr., F; Nick Woodford, 6-2, Jr., C; Jason Casley-Hayford, 6-0, Sr., G/F.

Outlook: "We are the Duke University of Howard County," said coach Aquila, citing the team's 3.2 GPA among its starters. DeAngelis is a transfer from Howard who would have attended Long Reach. Casley-Hayford is a former Wilde Lake player. Dennison's older brother, Bernie, set all of the school's scoring records. Eric Greenberg was the second-leading scorer in Glenelg's six-team summer league. "We'll be young but experienced," said Aquila, coaching his second season. The Dragons return three starters, but will start three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. Aquila is optimistic that the team will perform well in its MIAA C Conference.

Hammond Golden Bears

1995-96 record: 16-9 overall, 8-6 league. Coach: Mark Murray.

Top players: Jerry Oliver, 6-2, Sr., F; Eric Oetting, 6-2, Sr., C; Jimmy MacDonald, 5-10, Sr., G; Antwaun Oliver, 6-0, Jr., F; Patrick Lally, 5-10, Jr., G; Dayshawn Dillahunt, 6-1, Jr., G.

Outlook: Murray, 27, a first-year varsity coach who replaces Mike Mongelli, directed the Bears junior varsity the past two seasons and is stressing defense and conditioning. "We'll play 10 of 13 guys each game and try to speed the game up hoping to wear teams down so we can take over in the fourth quarter," Murray said. "I think teams will underestimate us." Murray will use a motion offense, and all the starters will need to be able to post up and shoot. Murray, the second all-time leading scorer at the University of Delaware, will have an inexperienced team, but has talented young players that have graduated from a strong junior varsity team. And the Bears have an above-average transfer from North Carolina in Dillahunt.

Howard Lions

1995-96 record: 3-18 overall, 2-12 league. Coach: Kevin Broadus.

Top players: Colin Izzard, 6-3, Sr., C; Charlie Hlass 6-0, Sr., F; Teron Gary, 5-10, Sr., G; Jabraille Jackson, 6-4, Jr., G/F; William Brandenburg, 6-2, Sr., F; Brian Broadus, 5-11, Sr., G; Alonzo Bolden, Sr., 5-10; Brian Kile, Sr., 6-0, G/F.

Outlook: The Lions return six players, including leading scorer and second-team all-county player Izzard (11 points) and third-leading scorer Jackson (eight points). Bolden is a transfer from Pikesville who should help. "Our strength will be our speed," Broadus said. Howard's only league wins last season were both against Glenelg by identical 47-45 scores. Broadus said he lacks a point guard, after losing outstanding point guard Chris Smith to Long Reach. The Lions won Glenelg Country School's six-team summer league, but that was with Smith in the lineup.

Long Reach Lightning

1995-96 record: none. Coach: Al Moraz.

Top players: Chris Smith, 5-7, Jr., G; Devin Conwell, 6-0, Fr., F; Tally White, 6-0, Fr., F; Turon Kosh, 5-9, Soph., G/F; Robert

Francois, 5-10, Fr., G; Shawn Green, 5-10, Jr., G.

Outlook: This first-year squad has some good young talent and overall team speed but is small. "I'm real concerned about our lack of height," said Moraz, a longtime assistant coach at Hammond first in the boys program and then in the girls program. Smith is one of the league's top point guards. Conwell is the younger brother of two-time county Player of the Year, Irving Conwell. White is an above-average player. Green can shoot well. And Kosh is an all-around good athlete.

Mount Hebron Vikings

1995-96 record: 10-13 overall, 6-8 league. Coach: Scott Conroy.

Top players: Pat Halter, 5-11, Sr., G; Mike Stromberg, 5-11, Sr., G; John Smith, 6-2, Sr., F; Mark Lucas, 6-1, Sr., F; Jeff Martin, 6-4, Sr., C; Eli Wishnivetski, 6-4, Sr., F.; Brian Picker, Sr., G.

Outlook: The Vikings graduated four of their top players, but have five returning players who either started or played a lot. Halter and Stromberg were All-Metro soccer players who led the team to its most successful season this fall. Smith quarterbacked the football team. In addition to those outstanding athletes, the Vikings have gained a good-shooting transfer from Sweden, Wishnivetski. "We should do better than last season," Conroy said.

Oakland Mills Scorpions

1995-96 record: 12-9 overall, 9-5 league. Coach: Dave Appleby.

Top players: Quan Davis, 5-6, Sr., G; Fardan Carter, 5-10, Sr., G; Andrew Lutz, 6-2, Sr., F; Murray Graves, 6-4, Soph., F; Duaine Harding, 6-5, Sr., C.

Outlook: "We're young and inexperienced but have a chance to be a good team by the end of January," said Appleby, the 15-year veteran who says exactly the same thing every season. The Scorpions, who won five straight county titles from 1986 to 1992, haven't won one since then, although they did make it to the state final four in 1995. Oakland Mills is the last county team to win a state title -- in 1990. Davis is an extremely quick point guard who averaged about eight assists last season and has started for three years. Carter, also a three-year starter, averaged 11 points last season but did not have a good shooting percentage. Lutz is a transfer from Pallotti who is an excellent shooter. Graves was one of the most impressive junior varsity players in the league last season.

River Hill Hawks

1995-96 record: none. Coach: Tom Schneider.

Top players: Jeff Hardesty, 6-0, Jr., G; Mike Prada, 6-1, Soph., G; John Alesico, 6-2, Soph., F; Brad Breen, 5-20, Jr., G.

Outlook: "We'd like to be competitive by the playoffs but we have no real expectations," said coach Schneider, who brings a wealth of college coaching experience to River Hill. Schneider, 50, was freshman coach at American U., assistant at George Washington and Southern Methodist, and head coach at Lehigh, Penn and Loyola (Baltimore). "I'm used to starting from scratch and building things up because that's what I did at Lehigh and Loyola. We don't have much experience, but we're enthusiastic and are working hard." Prada ran cross country this fall and Breen was the soccer team's goalkeeper.

Wilde Lake Wildecats

1995-96 record: 11-12 overall, 7-7 league. Coach: Lester Clay.

Top players: Barrett Wragg, 5-10, Sr., G; Karim Sioud, 6-3, Sr., F; Corey Butler, 5-7, Jr., G; C. J. Adams, 5-6, Sr., G; David Murrell, 5-9, Sr., G; Corey Totress, 6-2, Sr., F.; Dain Lewis, 6-1, Sr., G/F; Derek Bell, 6-1, Jr., G/F.

Outlook: The Wildecats graduated seven of their top eight players from last season, and four of their potential starters are injured and the fifth signed up for indoor track. "We're going to take our lumps early because half the team is injured," said Clay, an assistant Wildecats coach under Frank Rhodes from 1979-81, and a former Atholton player in 1968 and 1969 who was coached by Rhodes. "We're young and inexperienced, but could be competitive if we get healthy." Clay, the junior varsity coach the last two seasons, replaced Paul Ellis. Clay lost one of his potentially best players, Quentin Collins, to indoor track. "He has the best jump shot in the county and would have been our best shooter," Clay said. "He has a great vertical leap. Losing him was a major blow." Wragg figures to start at point guard, but has a nagging ankle injury from football. Starting guard Adams has an undiagnosed health problem that requires an operation and could sideline him indefinitely. Another starter, Sioud, has an ankle injury. And another starter, Totress, has an ailing back.

Pub Date: 12/03/96

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