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1998-99 Harford County boys basketball previews


Aberdeen Eagles

1997-98 record: 21-5

Coach: Richard Hart

Top players: Bill Guy, 6-2, Sr., G; Joey Magby, 6-0, Sr., PG; Jason Owens, 6-1, Sr., G; Stephon Watson, 6-2, Sr., F

Outlook: The Eagles were stung by the sudden resignation of coach Ron Petry two weeks ago but still believe they can win the league title. The thrust of the offense will come from Watson, an excellent athlete and formidable defender, and there's plenty of perimeter help around him. The playmaker is Magby, back after sitting out last winter for academics. Owens and Guy are sharpshooters. "I came in with a fresh start," Hart said. "We're really working together now,and everyone is excited about the season."

Bel Air Bobcats

1997-98 record: 2-21

Coach: Bill George

Top players: Jaquan Bland, 6-1, Jr., F; Colin Drakeford, 5-10, Jr., G; Mike Keckler, 6-3, Sr., F; Ben Stewart, 5-8, Soph., PG; Greg Wyant, 6-3, Jr., F-C

Outlook: Last season's finish was the worst in George's 21 years as coach, and any progress will be slow this season. The Bobcats are quicker overall yet remain small and inexperienced with six players up from the JV. George's usual motion offense needs a consistent scorer.

C. Milton Wright Mustangs

1997-98 record: 9-14

Coach: George Constantine

Top players: Eric Blom, 5-10, Sr., G; Scott Jankowiak, 6-2, Jr., F; Tony Palumbo, 6-1, Sr., F; Justin Rice, 5-9, Soph., PG; Nate Weigl, 6-3, Sr., F; Gareth Williams, 6-0, Jr., G.

Outlook: The Mustangs averaged just 56 points a game last season, and Constantine will switch to more pressure defense to create more opportunities. Rice has good court sense and Weigl brings a lot of versatility.

Edgewood Rams

1997-98 record: 24-3

Coach: Bob Slagle

Top players: Jonathan Booker, 6-1, Jr., G; Eric Butler, 5-11, Jr., G; Shannon Maynard, 6-3, Jr., F; Chris Suber, 6-4, Jr., F.

Outlook: Scoring could be a chore this season, because the Rams must regroup after losing the school's second and third all-time leading scorers, Mike Griffin and Keith Winder. Butler (92 assists) and newcomer Jermaine Hancock will share time at point guard, although Slagle doesn't anticipate an up-tempo offense. If anything, the Rams' athleticism and Slagle's coaching will keep them in the hunt for a repeat of the league championship.

Fallston Cougars

1997-98 record: 16-8

Coach: Joe Collins

Top players: John Caslin, 6-2, Sr., G; Justin Krout, 6-5, Sr., F; Tom Neunaber, 6-2, Sr., G; Ryan Reich, 5-6, Sr., G; Aaron Stephenson, 5-9, Sr., G; Lee Tayson, 6-4, Sr., F

Outlook: The Cougars won't be the league's surprise team, as was the case last winter, when they finished third and advanced to the regional semifinals before losing to Aberdeen. Points shouldn't be a problem with over half of the top scorers back from a year ago. The talented backcourt remains intact, led by Caslin (11 points a game), and is complemented by an excellent front court with Tayson and Krout. "The problem will be finding minutes for everyone, and that's a luxury for most teams," Collins said.

Harford Christian Eagles

1997-98 record: 6-17

Coach: Joe White

Top players: Jason Brooks, 6-2, Sr., F; Craig Ingram, 5-9, Sr., PG; Curtis Ingram, 5-9, Sr., G-F; Joshua Helton, 6-3, Jr., F

Outlook: The Eagles haven't had a winning season in nearly a decade and will need a lot of minutes from their starters because of a thin bench. Helton is the best defender and longe-range shooter.

Harford Tech Cobras

1997-98 record: 3-18

Coach: Matthew Scott

Top players: Jay Gant, 6-0, Sr., G; Aaron Quander, 6-2, Sr., F; Gene Ringgold, 5-8, Jr., G; Eric Rollins, 5-10, Jr., G; John Selby, 5-7, Sr., PG; Dante Woodberry, 6-2, Sr., C

Outlook: The Cobras only lost by an average of six points a game last season, and with six returning lettermen, Scott expects a higher level of play. Woodberry and Quander provide quickness on the interior and Selby heads a deep backcourt.

Havre de Grace Warriors

1997-98 record: 6-16

Coach: John Brooks

Top players: Rashad Brown, 6-0, Sr., G; Dwayne Johnson, 6-2, Sr., F; Jabrel Johnson, 5-9, Sr., G; Clay Roberts, 5-7, Soph., G; Jamar Simon, 6-1, Sr., F

Outlook: The Warriors will have to work hard for points, and Brooks hopes a trapping defense can create opportunities. Simon should emerge as the top scorer. The Warriors will see more practice than game time with only three games before the holiday break.

John Carroll Patriots

1997-98 record: 5-11

Coach: Jerry Phipps

Top players: Chris Brown, 6-1, Sr., F; Mike Coughlin, 6-0, Sr., G; Peter DeCapite, 5-10, Sr., G; James Duffy, 5-9, Jr., PG; Brian Lowe, 6-3, Sr., F; Taylor Whitehurst, 6-4, Sr., F

Outlook: Phipps, who was formerly at Hickey, attempts to revamp the Patriots program and needs continuity at both ends of the floor. The Patriots have average size and quickness, and Phipps hopes to control the tempo of by rotating several players. Whitehurst has good agility and rebounding skills.

Joppatowne Mariners

1997-98 record: 8-12

Coach: Kilo Mack

Top players: Mike Brown, 6-3, Sr., F; Rob Burns, 6-0, Sr., F; Demetrius Holly, 6-1, Jr., G; Rod Register, 6-2, Sr., G; Reggie Robinson, 5-11, Jr., G; Cornelius Woodson, 5-10, Jr., PG

Outlook: The strength is on the perimeter, yet Mack needs bigger efforts from Register and Woodson. Any contributions from the post could be the difference once the league schedule begins. The Mariners get a good test against defending Class 1A state champ Forest Park Wednesday.

North Harford Hawks

1997-98 record: 10-13

Coach: Spike Griffith

Top players: Larry Dawson, 5-10, Sr., G; Bill Farrell, 5-11, Sr., G; Matt Garland, 6-1, Sr., C; Walter Howard, 6-2, Sr., F; Chris Panes, 5-7, Sr., G; Randy Weeks, 6-1, Sr., C

Outlook: This squad of non-stars begins its third year together, and Griffith said it's the best mix of experience of his 11 years as coach. The Hawks have a new starting five but feature a good inside-outside combination. If the Hawks can be steady defensively, they could break .500.

Pub Date: 12/03/98

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