Annapolis Area Christian Eagles
1996-97 record: 13-11
Coach: Paul Brophy, first season
Top players: Paul Allen, 6-4, So., F; Dale Crowner, 6-0, Jr., F; Seth Knight, 6- 5, Jr., C.
Outlook: A new coach will lead the Eagles into their new league, the MIAA C Conference. Brophy succeeds John Dennstaedt, who coached the team for three seasons with Brophy as his assistant. A 1988 graduate of Severna Park, where he played basketball and soccer, Brophy starts just one senior. Allen, who averaged about 10 points a game, and Crowner are the only two players with any varsity experience to speak of. "Our ball-handling has a way to go, but I hope by the second half of the season we will be coming together," said Brophy.
Annapolis Running Panthers
1996-97 record: 20-6
Coach: John Brady (career record: 416-80)
Top players: DeMarkus Green, 6-3, Sr., F; Thomas Hawkins, 6-3, So., F; S.J. Womack, 6-5, Sr., C; Dewayne Hunt, 6-1, Jr., F; Kyron Belt, 6-2, Jr., F; Marcus Johnson, 6-4, So., G; Aaron Copeland, 6-1, So., G; Joe Feldman, 6-0, So., G.
Outlook: Despite graduating all their starters among eight seniors, the Panthers will again be a Class 4A East region contender. Just three players are back from last year's region finalists, Hawkins (lot of time as a freshman), Green and Robert Griffin (6-4, Sr., C), but a strong nucleus from a good JV team has moved up. Also, the addition of Womack, a St. Mary's transfer, should fill the void left inside by graduated Brian Barber. Womack is a superb athlete (All-Metro tight end in football) who is quick and can jump. It should be a matter of Brady and staff finding the right combinations to get past Class 3A Broadneck in the South Division and earn the Panthers' first trip to the county championship game.
Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers
1996-97 record: 21-8
Coach: Tony Martin, second season
Top players: Jason Campion, 6-5, Sr., F; Jon Bents, 6-8, Sr., C; Derrick Goode, 7-0, Jr., C; Tremaine Robinson, 6-2, So., G-F; Derrick Snowden, 6-0, So., G; Darren Johnson, 6-1, So., F-G; Isaac Brooks, 5-9, So., G; James Bowen, 6-0, Jr., G.
Outlook: Look for the Cavaliers to be right there with the top teams in the Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA A Conference. Martin, a former assistant at Cardinal Gibbons and Mount St. Joseph, has assembled a potential powerhouse in just two years. Super sophs Robinson (12.2 points), Snowden (4.6 assists), Johnson and Brooks, junior Bowen blend perimeter shooting and defense to go with seniors Campion (11.8 points) and Bents, who should control the boards. The addition of two juniors, the 7-foot Goode and 6-2 sharpshooter Chris Masters, makes a good team potentially great at this level. "We're very deep and can shoot threes," said Martin, pointing to Campion, Masters, Bowen, Brooks and Nate Kuh.
1996-97 record: 18-6
Coach: Hank Kuzma, first season
Top players: Rodney Farmer, 6-1, Sr., G; Andrew Helms, 6-9, Sr., C; Dave Huff, 6 -5, Sr., F-C; Tim Coulter, 6-4, Sr., F; A.J. Gallow, 6-6, Jr., F; Mike Parker, 6 -5, Jr., C-F; Ellis Champion, 6-1, Jr., G-F.
Outlook: Kuzma, a former Navy guard (1974-78) who scored 1,388 points in his career and was a team captain his senior year, takes the Wildcats' reins after serving as an assistant to V.J. Keith. Keith stepped down after one season, departing with four starters, including All-Metro C-F Tony Ross, who averaged 17 points and 10 boards a game. Farmer, who averaged 4.2 assists a game, is the only returning starter and as a team captain is expected to shoulder a lot of responsibility. Helms may be ready to become a force inside with his 225-pound frame and will be flanked by Huff, Coulter, Parker and Gallow. "It will be interesting to see how we jell this year," said Kuzma. "We will build on our man-defense and try to run up-tempo."
1996-97 record: 20-5
Coach: Ken Kazmarek (241-90)
Top players: Lehrman Dotson, 6-0, Jr., G; Brooks Barnard, 6-3, Sr., F; Earl Downs, 6-3, Sr., F; Jonas Weatherbie, 6-2, Sr., G; Jeff Logan, 6-1, Jr., F; Keith Williams, 6-1, Jr., G; Tremayne Williams, 6-1, Jr., G.
Outlook: The two-time defending county-champion Bruins lost more than most teams through the graduation of John Williams, the consensus county player of the year and an All-Metro swingman last season and All-County forward Noble Watkins. The pair combined for 35 points and 20 rebounds a game. But Kazmarek, who begins his 15th season as a coach, his 14th at Broadneck, is a master at filling holes and staying on top. As a result, look for Downs and Barnard to take their turns stepping up. Dotson (third-team All-County as a sophomore) proved to be an excellent point guard, averaging 4.8 assists, and should be ready to provide more offense this season. The Bruins open at 8 p.m. tomorrow at home in Cape St. Claire vs. Northern-Calvert.
1996-97 record: 12-12
Coach: John Spinnenweber (59-84)
Top players: Ray Wagner, 6-3, Sr., F; Jason Gogolinski, 6-2, Sr., G; Ryan Plews, 6-3, Sr., F; Dave Dolch, 6-4, Sr., F; Dirk Schanberger, 6-0, Sr., G; Brian Shepley, 5-10, Sr., G; Travis Blake, 6-4, Jr., F.
Outlook: Spinnenweber said it best, "Chesapeake is no longer a night off." Things have changed in Lake Shore, where the Cougars are no longer the team everybody beats but the team that can beat everybody. Just missing their first winning season in school history, the Cougars won the North Division title at 9-1 and played in their first county championship game, losing to Broadneck, 66-55. The key components, including second-team All-County forward Wagner (17 points, 8.7 rebounds), return. "This will be the most experienced team since I got here [five years ago]," said Spinnenweber. "This team knows what it takes to win and is disciplined and intelligent."
Glen Burnie Gophers
1996-97 record: 3-20
Coach: Mike Rudd, second season
Top players: Vernon Crowder, 6-2, Sr., F; Antoine Rich, 6-1, Sr., G; Luckey Williams, 5-9, Sr., G-F; Seth Murphy, 6-4, Sr., C; Owen Gaither, 6-3, Jr., F.
Outlook: Rudd has recovered from a frustrating rookie season as a coach. "Everything that could go wrong last year did," said Rudd. "That [losing several players to academic ineligibility right before the playoffs] won't happen again." Rudd is a student advocate at the school this year and will be able to better monitor his players. Crowder, who led the Gophers in scoring (12 points a game), is back to lead what should be a quick team.
1996-97 record: 11-12
Coach: Butch Young (402-276)
Top players: Steve Spurlin, 6-3, Sr., F; Maurice Davis, 6-0, Sr., G-F; Jeff Charles, 6-3, Jr., F; Steve Goforth, 6-0, Sr., G; John Banks, 5-9, Sr., G; Will Vaughn, 6-2, Sr., F' Justin Garrido, 5-9, Sr., G.
Outlook: Spurlin (10 points a game) is the only returning starter while seniors Vaughn and 6-2 Pat McNaboe saw spot duty and combined for about 12 points a game. "We're pretty green, and we've been knocking around .500 the last three-four years because we're not getting anything from our JV," said Young, who begins his 31st season, the 21st at Meade. "We've got some quick feet and have no choice but to play up-tempo."
North County Knights
1996-97 record: 10-13
Coach: Brad Wilson (53-105)
Top players: Tavon Mason, 6-5, Sr., F; Chad Brown, 5-10, Sr., G; Brian Riley, 5- 11, Sr., G; Erik Larsen, 6-3, Sr., G; Ryan Moyer, 6-2, Jr., G; Eddie Mackell, 6- 5, Jr., F; Paul Brown, 6-3, Jr., F; Mark Jennings, 6-2, So., G.
Outlook: Wilson is excited about this team after slipping last year following two winning seasons. "I'm pleased with where they are right now," said Wilson. Mason could emerge as one of the county's top big men and will be complemented by Mackell, a transfer from Perry Hall. The Knights should also have their typical potent perimeter offense.
1996-97 record: 3-20
Coach: John Barbour (176-236)
Top players: Ryan George, 6-1, Sr., G-F; Chris Pack, 6-3, Sr., F; Adam Sutton, 6 -1, Sr., G; James Sullivan, 6-1, Sr., F; Mark Sutton, 6-2, Jr., C; Mike Whisman, 6-0, Jr., G.
Outlook: Short on height and depth, the Eagles hope to be long on intensity. Swingman George, the leading scorer who averaged 17.5 points and 5.8 boards, is the catalyst, and Barbour is hoping for more punch from Pack, who averaged four points and four rebounds a game last season. "Chris is our tallest player, but the county is not as tall overall as in the past, and that should help us," said Barbour. Sutton (4.7 points, three assists) should do an adequate job at point, and St. Croix transfer K-jell Swanston, a 6-1 sophomore forward, could be a pleasant surprise.
Old Mill Patriots
1996-97 record: 9-15
Coach: Paul Bunting (142-128)
Top players: Timmy Smith, 6-0, Jr., G; Toby Green, 5-11, Sr., G; Noel Cruz, 5-9, Jr., G; Brock Brooks, 5-11, Sr., G; Keith Rogers, 6-2, Jr., F; Craig Hall, 6-4, Jr., F; Tim Morris, 6-5, Sr., F.
Outlook: Bunting feels he doesn't have an overly athletic group but a hard-working team that could be decent if it gets quicker. "We have to get more confidence and develop the capability to go beyond comfortable," said Bunting. "Right now, we play to a certain level and then relax, but we need to step it up." Smith, Green and Cruz are returning guards and how fast Hall, Morris and Rogers progress inside will determine the Patriots' success.
St. Mary's Saints
1996-97 record: 19-10
Coach: Roger Reed, second season
Top players: D.J. Dauses, 6-4, Sr., F; Matt Treadwell, 6-10, Sr., C; Jamal Reed, 5-10, Sr., G; Chris Summers, 6-1, Sr., G; J.D. Magnolia, 6-3, Jr., F; Joe Sanchez, 6-3, Sr., F; Eric Pickett, 5-10, Sr., G.
Outlook: With four returning starters, including third-team All-County swingman Dauses and shot-blocker Treadwell, the Saints are primed for a serious run in the MIAA B Conference. Dauses averaged 14.1 points and five caroms a game last season, while Treadwell snuffed out four shots a game. Reed and Summers give the Saints a solid backcourt and Magnolia is ready to step in at forward as the fifth starter. Reed also has a pretty good bench, and such depth is needed for the pace he prefers. The Saints opened on the road at Mount St. Joseph Tuesday, dropping a 70-50 decision to the Gaels despite 27 points between Dauses and Treadwell and hope to get on track tonight at Northeast.
1996-97 record: 19-5
Coach: Jim Doyle (98-67)
Top players: Dennard Melton, 6-0, Sr., G; Greg Cooper, 6-2, Sr., F-G; Von Craig, 5-10, Sr., G; Jeff Haskins, 6-0, Sr., G-F; Lee Scott, 6-1, Sr., G-F; Matt Wright, 6-0, Sr., G-F; Kyle Hyland, 5-10, Jr., G.
Outlook: Doyle returns for the end of the Melton era at Severn. Melton is closing a brilliant four-year career and was an eighth-grader on the JV when Doyle last coached the basketball team. With 1,464 career points (including 18 in first game), Melton ranks fifth on the county career list and with an average season of about 500 points (about 20 a game), could pass Southern's Vince Barnett (1988-91), who holds the county's all-time record of 1,823 points. That would make Melton the county's all-time leading scorer in both football and basketball. The Admirals, who will play in the MIAA B Conference, lost two big bangers inside in 6-9 Jeff Hatch and 6-5 Winston Johnson to graduation, but have an athletic cast around Melton. Cooper, Haskins and Hyland are three key guys for the Admirals, who opened with a 75-64 loss to Calvert Hall Tuesday. "It's like a lot of the Severn teams I've had in the past -- not a lot of height but very unselfish, quick and with a lot of potential," said Doyle. "Our seniors have lost in the conference championship game the last two years, and they want to go out with a championship."
Severna Park Falcons
1996-97 record: 12-11
Coach: Paul Pellicani (26-64)
Top players: Grek Korwek, 6-4, Sr., F; Matt Briggs, 6-2, Sr., G; Nate Jennings, 6-3, Sr., G; Tony Dokoupil, 5-11, Jr., G; Trevor Quinn, 6-5, Fr., F.
Outlook: After posting their first winning season since 1992 (16-8), the Falcons graduated seven seniors. Bulky (225 pounds) All-County forward Korwek returns and is set to break a couple of career records. Korwek, a four-year starter, became the school's all-time leading rebounder last year and starts the season with 582 boards. He ranks second in both career points (747) and career free throws (188) and is within striking distance of new marks. Korwek averaged 12.6 points and led the Falcons in rebounding with 10.6 boards a game. Briggs, Jennings and Dokoupil are expected to give Korwek some help if the Falcons are to keep it going. "Briggs is playing with a lot of confidence and poise," said Pellicani. "He's a player coming of age and looks really good."
1996-97 record: 11-12
Coach: Tom Albright (464-272)
Top players: Will Maynard, 5-8, Jr., G; Josh Booth, 5-10, Sr., G; Demond Mullen, 5-11, Sr., G; Gary Tompkins, 6-5, Sr., F; Albert Mudd, 6-3, Sr., F-G.
Outlook: Albright has one of his most experienced teams in years with three starters returning in Maynard (12.9 points), Mullen and Booth, a defensive whiz. The trio of backcourters make things happen in the Dawgs' never-stop-running tempo. Tompkins and Mudd add strength underneath. Albright, starting his 33rd season, likes this team. Southern hopes to return to Cole Field House for the second time in three years and the 12th time overall under Albright, who owns more state titles (four) than any county coach. "We will be more exciting than last year," said Albright. "We hope to get back to Cole."
South River Seahawks
1996-97 record: 7-16
Coach: Ken Dunn (188-237)
Top players: Pernell Jackson, 6-9, Sr., C; Russell Nicholson, 6-2, Sr., G; Justin Terry, 6-3, Sr., F; Sean Griffin, 6-5, Sr., F; Deon Glass, 5-9, Sr., G; John Adams, 6-1, Sr., G; Shawn Tasker, 6-1, Jr., G-F; Mike Moraz, 6-1, Jr., F.
Outlook: Dunn can't remember when he has had so much depth and so many quality returnees. Opposing coaches are calling the Seahawks "the sleeper" in the South Division mainly because of the return of Jackson (8.8 rebounds a game) in the middle and Nicholson (15.7 points, 7.2 boards) in the backcourt. "We've had three good scrimmages, and if Pernell, who is a strength defensively in the paint, can give us some offense, we could be pretty good," said Dunn. Jackson, who scored a 1,220 on his SAT, is being recruited by several Ivy League schools and is leaning toward Holy Cross. Other key returnees are Terry, Griffin, Adams and Moraz, and Glass, who is expected to start in the deep backcourt, is one of three seniors who didn't play last year. Glass played on the JV as a sophomore, but didn't go out last year, along with 6-4 Paul Martin and 5-7 Tommy Ruehl, who was a Seahawk wrestler. Also, two transfers in Tasker (North Carolina) and 6-3 Bobby Burton (Ohio) have been impressive.
Preseason Top 20
2. St. Frances
4. Lake Clifton
6. Mount St. Joseph
8. Towson Catholic
9. Calvert Hall
13. Archbishop Spalding
17. Long Reach
Pub Date: 12/05/97