While it is "no way etched in stone," the proposed new boys and girls basketball schedule for next year is rather interesting, according to Marlene Kelly, Anne Arundel County coordinator of physical education.
The proposal is a dramatic change from the current schedule and sets up an in-county tournament of sorts, with all 12 public schools participating on county championship day.
Devised by Southern athletic director and boys basketball coach Tom Albright and Annapolis athletic director Fred Stauffer, the concept also would be used for baseball and softball, with the other sports staying the same.
"It's an idea proposed by the athletic directors on the scheduling committee that has been approved by the athletic directors only," said Kelly.
"County principals have to approve it and then it goes higher and would not actually become official until March."
Under the plan, county teams would continue playing 16 in-county games, but the north and south division schedules would be replaced by top-six and bottom-six divisions. Currently, teams play each team in their six-team division twice for 10 games and each team in the other division once for a total of 16 games.
Before this season, the north and south division winners played in the county championship, but that was changed to all 12 teams in one league. The top two teams will play for the county title on Feb. 24.
Because there wasn't time to change the north-south scheduling, the teams have continued to play as explained above.
The new proposal has the schools playing an 11-game round-robin, five games in the top/bottom division set-up, and an additional game county championship day with the teams seeded by how they finished in the 11-game round robin.
Top- and bottom-six divisions would be determined by the combined boys and girls records from the previous season.
Example: Let's say Annapolis finishes first in the boys, but last in the girls. Their ranking would be 12 points for the first and one point for 12th place for a cumulative total of 13 points.
Each school would be ranked by total points with the highest six finishers placed in the top division and the other six in the bottom division. This is how the additional five games would be played with no bearing on the seeding for the final day tournament.
The top two teams per the 11-game round-robin would continue to play for the championship. Other games would match the third- and fourth-place teams, fifth- and sixth-place teams etc.
"We would need four sites to do it, with three games at each site," said Stauffer.
"The ADs said it would be no problem to have two sites for the boys and two for the girls so that everybody plays. The idea is to basically to keep everybody playing until the playoffs start."
The county regular season ends on Monday, Feb. 22, the county championship is two days later and the first rounds of the open region tournament are set to begin that Friday/Saturday, Feb. 26-27.
"Some teams can get first-round byes and don't play for an entire week and that layoff is what we're trying to eliminate," said Stauffer.
However, by playing the extra game in the county, means one less game against outside competition.
Per the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) rules, basketball teams are allowed to play a maximum of 22 games (20 regular season, two holiday tournament games or three holiday games and 19 regular season) before the playoffs.
Some coaches, such as John Brady of No. 4 Annapolis, are not sure if they like playing two days before the start of the region tournament.
"I would rather not play and have the time off to get ready for the playoffs," said Brady,pointing to the possibility that because of the lottery draw for the regional, the same two teams could play two straight games.
"And we like playing the outside games."
Said Kelly: "If the whole thing is approved, it would be a pilot kind of thing, like the open tournament was. We would see how well it works and make changes if necessary."
Old Mill's Craig Hall put the ninth-ranked Patriots' 64-61 upset at No. 4 Annapolis Friday in perspective. "It's just another game in the preseason to get us ready for the regular season, which is the playoffs," said Hall.
Glen Burnie's Owen Gaither had one of the top all-around games of the season in the Gophers' 79-68 win at Severna Park on Friday. Gaither scored 30 points for the fourth time this season, going 8-for-15 from two-point range, two-for-two on threes, grabbed eight rebounds and had five steals and five assists.
Look for host and No. 11 McDonogh (15-4) to try to slow the pace in today's game against No. 1 Spalding (19-2).
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Pub Date: 2/03/99