Basketball; High Schools


Boys county championship

No. 14 North County (16-5) vs. No. 1 Annapolis (21-0)

When: 7: 15 tonight

Where: Meade High School

Outlook: Top-ranked Annapolis is seeking its second straight county championship and county-record 17th overall in 24 seasons under coach John Brady. The Panthers completed the county's first boys undefeated regular season last night with a 67-42 romp at Arundel (9-12), while the Knights rolled to a 73-42 win over Chesapeake (5-16). North County, in its 10th year, is making its first appearance in the county championship, fulfilling one of its goals this season under second-year coach Mike Francis. In the only meeting between the two teams this season, on Jan. 24, Annapolis was a 69-54 winner at home after jumping out to a 47-30 lead at the half. Annapolis is led by seniors Thomas Hawkins and Marcus Johnson and junior point guard Marcus Neal. Hawkins, the school's all-time leading scorer and a four-year starter, is averaging 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists while Johnson is scoring 17.6 points, grabbing 6.4 boards and handing out 3.5 assists. The quick and smooth Neal leads the county in assists (7.8) and is averaging 15.9 points a game. Jerome Goodman (16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds) and Mark Jennings (14.2 points, 3.8 assists) lead the Knights, but, like the Panthers, the lead guys have talented supporting casts. Both coaches expect an up-tempo game and the game should serve as an excellent tuneup for both going into their respective East region tournaments, Annapolis in 3A, North County in 4A. -- Pat O'Malley

Girls county championship

No. 6 Arundel (19-2) vs. No. 7 Severna Park (17-4)

When: 7: 15 tonight

Where: Broadneck High School

Outlook: The two teams split during the regular season, with the Falcons winning the first meeting, 54-52, on Jan. 28 before Arundel avenged the loss with a 49-43 win two weeks later. The county's top two inside-outside combinations will be on the floor tonight. Arundel looks to junior guard Jill Marano (15.9 points, 5 assists) to run the show and junior forward Najmah Fauntleroy (15.8 points, 15 rebounds) to provide the answer inside. Severna Park counters with senior guard Natalie Hicks (15.9 ppg.) and forward Kim Lawton (15.4 ppg.). Helping out Lawton inside for the Falcons is senior center Lauren Bessire, who's averaging 9.1 rebounds a game. Senior point guard Meg Miller hands out 4.6 assists a game. The Wildcats counter with depth that will try to wear Severna Park down. Senior Tracey Pucci is another reliable source inside with senior guards Keyana Washington and Chanell Sutton providing a wealth of experience in the backcourt. A fourth meeting -- in the upcoming Class 4A East region playoffs -- is a strong possibility. -- Glenn P. Graham

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