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1998-99 Anne Arundel County boys basketball previews

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Public schools

Annapolis Running Panthers

1997-98 record: 21-7

Coach: John Brady (career record: 437-87)

Top players: Thomas Hawkins, 6-3, Jr., S; Marcus Johnson, 6-4, Jr., G; Kyron Belt, 6-2, Sr., F; Dewayne Hunt, 6-1, Sr., F; Marcus Neal, 6-0, So., G; Travis Foster, 6-5, Jr., F

Outlook: Brady has a potential Class 4A state champion. Everybody is back, including Hawkins, who played G-F and even posted up on occasion as the first sophomore named County Player of the Year. The versatile swingman averaged 20 points and seven rebounds last season, and scored 16 points in a 70-64 state semifinal loss to eventual state-champion Gaithersburg (27-1) at Cole Field House. Also back are a host of other outstanding underclassmen, led by Johnson and Foster, in addition to senior leaders Belt and Hunt. Neal, called up in late season for the playoff run, had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists in the state semifinal.

Arundel Wildcats

1997-98 record: 6-17

Coach: Hank Kuzma, second season

Top players: Ellis Champion, 6-2, Sr., G-F; Mike Parker, 6-5, Sr., C-F; A.J. Gallow, 6-8, Sr., C-F; Mario White, 6-1, Sr., S; Ben Arnold, 6-0, Sr., F

Outlook: Former Navy guard Kuzma is hoping to turn things around in Gambrills with Champion (12 points) and Parker (eight rebounds) playing key roles. "Ellis has a great outside shot, and Parker is very strong inside and should get help from Gallow," said Kuzma. Parker, a two-time All-County football lineman, recovered from a bad back. Kuzma said his 'Cats will "continue to improve our half-court defenses and run a successful fast break when the opportunity is there."

Broadneck Bruins

1997-98 record: 13-11

Coach: Ken Kazmarek (254-101)

Top players: Lehrman Dotson, 6-0, Sr.,, G; Tremayne Williams, 6-2, Sr., G-F; Jeff Logan, 6-1, Sr., F; Keith Williams, 6-1, Sr., G; Jason Burton, 6-6, Jr., F

Outlook: With four returning starters -- Dotson, K. Williams, Logan and Burton -- the Bruins should be back with the big boys. "Anytime you have that many starters back, you have to be optimistic," said Kazmarek. "We're very quick and athletic and hope to press more on defense to get easy baskets in transition." Point guard Dotson was third-team All-County last season after averaging 15 points and nearly four assists. Logan averaged seven boards and will get a lot of help from Burton and two 6-3 Fs, senior Ed Hayes and soph Stephan Sharps.

Chesapeake Cougars

1997-98 record: 14-9

Coach: John Spinnenweber (73-93)

Top players: Travis Blake, 6-5, Sr., F; Ron Spriggs, 6-2, Sr., F; John McIlwain, 5-9, Sr., G; Bo Danton, 6-2, Jr., F; Kyle Brown, 6-1, Jr., G-F

Outlook: After the Cougars' first winning season and their top two seasons (26-21) in history, they hope to keep it going. But Blake is the only player with varsity experience. "We've started something here that works, and the kids understand that," said Spinnenweber. "We need to improve every day. We will have a little more quickness and athleticism. Travis [Blake] can be one of the county's best." Brown, a transfer from St. Frances in Baltimore, adds depth.

Glen Burnie Gophers

1997-98 record: 10-15

Coach: Mike Rudd, second season

Top players: Owen Gaither, 6-3, Sr., F; Brian Kellner, 5-11, Jr., G; Derek Flournoy, 5-11, Sr., G; George Schneider,6-4, Sr., C

Outlook: Rudd made great strides in his rookie season, going from three wins in '96-97 to 10 wins and taking two playoff games before losing in the region semis to Westminster. Gaither is projected to be one of the county's 10 best players after averaging 17 points and seven rebounds as a third-team All-County forward. "Owen will be on the wing and can go inside, where we have a legitimate big man in Schneider," said Rudd. "I expect us to compete with anybody in the county."

Meade Mustangs

1997-98 record: 19-6

Coach: Butch Young (421-282)

Top players: Jeff Charles, 6-4, Sr., F; Kirk Barrett, 5-6, Sr., G; Marcus Armstrong, 6-2, Sr., F; Marcus Davis, 6-0, Jr.,F; Eric Brown, 5-6, Jr., G; Mel Montgomery, 5-10, Jr., G-F

Outlook: After emerging as last winter's surprise team, winning the county title with a 16-1 record despite only one returning starter, the Mustangs will be hard-pressed for an encore. Charles (11 points), second team All-County, is the only returning starter. But it's too early to tell what the crafty Young might have up his sleeve. Young, last season's Coach of the Year, is back for his 32nd year, the last 22 at military-based Meade. He is used to rebuilding with the county's most transient student population. "Our biggest problem will be rebounding, because we've got an awfully small team," he said. "We might use a four- or five-guard offense. We do have better than average quickness and a bunch of guys who can run and catch."

North County Knights

1997-98 record: 4-19

Coach: Mike Francis, first season

Top players: Mark Jennings, 6-2, Jr., G; Chuck Willis, 5-10, Jr., G; Jerome Goodman, 6-4, Jr., F; Paul Brown, 6-2, Sr., G; Charles Gaither, 6-1, Sr., G

Outlook: Francis takes over a program that has just two winning seasons since starting in 1990, but he is optimistic. Jennings, who averaged 14 points last season, fuels his optimism. "Mark will be one of the top players as we build consistency," said Francis, who was a Knights' assistant a few years ago and has an extensive background in rec ball. "We have no aspirations of being up-tempo and will rely on a half-court game and being physical."

Northeast Eagles

1997-98 record: 3-20

Coach: John Barbour (179-256)

Top players: Mark Sutton, 6-2, Sr., F-C; Mike Whisman, 6-0, Sr., F; John Panitz, 5-9, Jr., G; Ed Jackson, 6-0, Sr., F; Dennis Dunkerly, 6-2, Sr., C

Outlook: Barbour is hoping this group will develop steadily. "Mark [Sutton] is our only returning starter, and Whisman did get some time, but overall we have a lot of untested players," said Barbour. Panitz will be point guard "and should be a good one," the coach said. "It won't be easy, but we will come to play and play hard the whole game."

Old Mill Patriots

1997-98 record: 14-9

Coach: Paul Bunting (156-137)

Top players: Timmy Smith, 6-0, Sr., G; Noel Cruz, 5-9, Sr., G; James Wilson, 6- 2, Sr., F; Craig Hall, 6-5, Sr., F-C; Keith Rogers, 6-2, Sr., F

Outlook: The Patriots, who turned it around last season, return the nucleus of a team that won nine of its last 10 games. "It will be hard to duplicate last season's finish, but this is a good group, fun to coach," said Bunting. "It's also a very intelligent group." That may be an understatement since the team has a 3.45 grade-point average. Cruz sports a 4.5 weighted GPA, and nine of 13 players are on the honor roll.

Severna Park Falcons

1997-98 record: 8-15

Coach: Paul Pellicani (34-79)

Top players: Trevor Quinn, 6-4, So., F; Ayyub Ali, 6-3, Sr., G; Mustafa Ali, 5-8, Jr., G; Nick Pellicani, 5-10, Jr., G; Dan Greenblatt, 5-9, Sr., G; Ryan Ward, 5-9, Jr., G

Outlook: Pellicani is excited because of the progress this team made over the summer. The Falcons' coach, in his sixth year, is especially excited about the Ali brothers and Quinn, who played well as underclassmen. "We have a little bit of size, good speed, and depth," said Pellicani. "We can go 10 deep and not miss a beat." A. Ali averaged 15 points with 17 threes in 15 games after transferring from Annapolis, along with his younger brother M. Ali (five points and nearly three assists). Quinn emerged as a ninth-grader, grabbing eight boards and assisting twice a game. Pellicani is looking for Quinn to do more scoring inside this season. Soph John Garrett (6-1 ) also has impressed with his perimeter shooting.

Southern Bulldogs

1997-98 record: 14-10

Coach: Tom Albright (478-282)

Top players: Will Maynard, 5-8, Sr., G; Gary Tompkins, 6-4, Sr., F; James Jones, 6-3, So., F; Edward Hicks, 5-11, Sr., G

Outlook: Back for his 34th season in Harwood, Albright, who has more wins and state titles (four) than any county coach, is relying on Maynard to show the way. The returning All-County guard, who Albright calls "the total package," led the county in scoring (21 points a game) and averaged four rebounds, three assists and nearly four steals. Tompkins averaged four points and four boards a game, and Jones showed late-season promise. "It's a good group that needs to develop around Will and Gary," said Albright.

South River Seahawks

1997-98 record: 12-11

Coach: Ken B. Dunn (200-248)

Top players: Shawn Tasker, 6-2, Sr., G-F; Mike Moraz, 6-1, Sr., F; Andrew Sly, 6-5, Sr., F-C; Shane Dove, 5-10, Sr., G; Mike Gibbons, 6-4, Jr., F; Tromaine Jones, 5-9, Jr., G

Outlook: Graduation hit the Hawks hard. Starting his 21st season in Edgewater, Dunn is banking on Tasker, who averaged 10.5 points and five assists after transferring from a North Carolina school. "We're a little thin on experience, losing [about] 10 seniors," said Dunn. "Hopefully, we will play good defense until our offense gets going."

Private schools

Annapolis Area Christian Eagles

1997-98 record: 9-14

Coach: Paul Brophy, second season

Top players: Paul Allen, 6-5, Jr.,F; Dale Crowner, 6-0, Sr., F; Seth Knight, 6-5, Sr., C; Ryan Watson, 6-3, Sr., F; Nick Borgeson, 6-0, Jr., G; Seth Knight, 6-6, Sr. C

Outlook: The Eagles return three players who averaged 10 points a game -- Watson, Allen, and Crowner. AACS fared badly in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C conference and lost in the first round of the Maryland State Christian Schools Tournament, 60-54, to Cumberland Valley. A winning season could be had from the experience gained. "We were building on last season but expect to compete for a playoff berth this season," said Brophy. "We've got depth and height." Only two players are under 6 feet tall.

Antioch Christian Eagles

1997-98 record: 27-5

Coach: Jerry Humphrey (153-58)

Top players: Joel Wright, 6-5, Sr., F; Adrian Johnson, 5-11, Sr., G; Ben Evans, 6-3, Sr., F-C; Jacob Holston, 6-2, Sr., G; Curtis Johnson, 6-1, Sr., F-C

Outlook: A strong nucleus, led by Maryland Christian Athletic League MVP Wright, returns. The Eagles, who won the state Christian Schools title in 1996-97, lost, 53-52, in last season's final to Faith Christian (W. Va.). Wright averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Eagles. Evans pumped in 10 points a game, mostly inside. "We will be playing our toughest schedule ever, but we have an experienced, balanced attack," said Humphrey.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1997-98 record: 17-17

Coach: Tony Martin (38-25)

Top players: Derrick Snowden, 6-0, Jr., G; Derrick Goode, 7-0, Sr., C; Tremaine Robinson, 6-2, Jr., G-F; Chris Masters, 6-2, Sr., G; James Bowen, 6-0, Sr., G; Darren Johnson, 6-1, Jr., F-G; Isaac Brooks, 5-10, Jr., G

Outlook: Playing the toughest schedule in the metro area last season, the Cavs made some noise in the MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League. They're ready for an explosion. "We're going to be very quick offensively and defensively," said Martin, in his third year as coach. Point guard Snowden is back after becoming the first Cavalier named first-team All-County. He led the county in assists (204 in 34 games), averaged nine points and three rebounds. Goode (12.5 points, eight rebounds and, for the season, 96 blocked shots) and Robinson (eight points, four rebounds and three assists) and third-team sharpshooter jTC Masters, who led the team in 3-pointers, return. Spalding has added Serbian exchange-student Aleksandar Pavlovic, a 6-foot-8 senior, and Brooks has developed into a Division I prospect.

St. Mary's Saints

1997-98 record: 16-12

Coach: Roger Reed (35-22)

Top players: Chris Summers, 6-0, Sr., G; Ryan Morrisey, 6-1, Jr., G-F; J. D. Magnolia, 6-1, Sr., F-G; Bobby VanDyke, 6-6, Jr., F-C; Darren Kramer, 6-4, Jr., G-F; Ray Hand, 6-5, Sr., F

Outlook: Graduation took several of last season's key players, and Reed will especially miss 6-10 Matt Treadwell's 13 points, nine boards and five blocked shots a game. The hard-playing Summers (four assists a game last winter) can't do it all but will be the MIAA B Conference Saints' leader. "Chris is a key guy, and I think he's going to be one of the better point guards in the county," said Reed. "We're very young and hope to improve each time out and get back to the B conference playoffs a third straight season. Maybe three will be the charm for us." Reed was encouraged by his Saints' performance in their season opener Tuesday, a 67-56 loss to No. 10-ranked Mount St. Joseph. VanDyke (6-6) and Hand (6-5, but in his first season, as a senior) give the Saints strength inside.

Severn Admirals

1997-98: 11-12

Coach: Jim Doyle (109-79)

Top players: Kyle Hyland, 6-0, Sr., G; Derek Morrell, 6-2, Sr., G; Tom Cleaver, 5-10, Jr., G; Jeff McMahon, 6-0, Jr., G; Brandon Wright, 6-3, So., F; Bob West, 5-11, So., G

Outlook: Life after Dennard Melton, the graduated all-time county leading scorer with 1,907 points the last four seasons, will be an adjustment for Doyle and the Admirals. Melton did everything for the MIAA B Conference runner-up last season. "We will just have to do things by committee," said Doyle. "I think we're going to be pretty good, because we can shoot. Getting back to the MIAA B Conference championship game with McDonogh is a do-able goal." Hyland is the only returning starter. Morrell, Cleaver, McMahon and Wright saw limited time, and West is a mid-semester transfer from St. Mary's. Doyle is also high on 6-0 freshman G Todd MacMullen.

Pub Date: 12/04/98

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