The South Carroll girls basketball team can make its season tonight by defeating Westminster.
A victory would give the visiting Cavaliers, who have struggled with an 0-15 record against non-county opponents, the Carroll County championship.
The Cavaliers are 4-1 in county play, including a Jan. 19 upset of Westminster, 61-58. They came from 15 points down at halftime to win.
Kim Lowry, who averages 17 points, has provided a cornerstone for the team during those wins and has played well all season.
"This will be a challenge," coach Al Skierski said of tonight's game. "Westminster has big girls, and they are at home, so they have the advantage. It will take a good game on our part, but it's a big opportunity for us. We didn't think we'd be competing for a county crown this late in the season."
Skierski can't explain why his team has been unable to win outside the county.
"We play hard. Sometimes the shots just don't go in," he said. But he can explain why his team does well inside the county.
"The kids know each other and play against each other in other sports all year long, and that provides good motivation for them. It's easy to turn it up a notch."
He doesn't think the loss of Westminster's only two senior players, Kasey Owings and Katie Selby, will hurt the Owls (14-5) in this game.
"They may have lost some leadership, but by now the younger ones have blended in."
Boys title at stake
In boys basketball, tonight's showdown between Westminster and South Carroll at South Carroll will decide the county championship.
South Carroll is 4-1 and can win the title outright with a victory.
Should South Carroll lose, then North Carroll can win the title outright by defeating Liberty. That would give the Panthers, the only county team to have beaten South Carroll, a 5-2 record. They have played an extra game and defeated Key. Neither South Carroll nor Westminster played the Eagles.
Westminster can tie South Carroll for the title only if the Owls win and North Carroll loses to Liberty.
Earlier this season, South Carroll defeated Westminster, 73-65, behind 34 points from guard Marshall Strickland, five above his average. Center Josh Boone scored 16 points, had eight rebounds and blocked five shots.
Westminster features Jon-David Byers who is averaging 26 points. Byers scored 29 points, including five three-pointers, in the first matchup. That game drew an estimated 1,600 fans, and a similar crowd is expected.
On the mat
South Carroll and North Carroll are expected to slug it out for the Carroll County wrestling tournament championship at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Francis Scott Key. The semifinals are at 12:15 p.m. and the finals at 5 p.m.
Here's a look at the top wrestlers in each weight class based on overall records. Some wrestlers may opt to change weight class.
103 pounds: Andrew Gold (17-8), South Carroll; Sam Shreck (14-5), North Carroll; and Josh Corkran (15-9), Westminster.
112: Paul Hartman (21-4), North Carroll; Lee Crowl (18-5), Francis Scott Key; and Pat Maloff (17-5), North Carroll.
119: Adam Tenney (23-3), Westminster; Ross Bell (16-5), North Carroll.
125: Kellen Weber (22-3), South Carroll; Josh Kelleman (14-4), Francis Scott Key; Tyler Graham (16-5), North Carroll.
130: Buddy Olson (18-10), South Carroll; Kyle Smith (13-2), North Carroll.
135: Dan Patterson (27-1), South Carroll; Jason Brown (21-6), Westminster; Randy Shreck (15-7), North Carroll.
140: Bryan Hamper (24-5), South Carroll; Robbie Pearre (15-6), North Carroll.
145: Fran Jackson (17-2), North Carroll; Josh Wampler (19-6), South Carroll.
152: Travis Mohlhenrich (20-5), South Carroll; Josh Anderson (14-9), North Carroll.
160: Jon Burger (21-4), Westminster; Andy Cumberland (21-6), South Carroll.
171: Dan Holler (21-2), Francis Scott Key; Kyle Lettau (15-3), North Carroll; Nick Burger (19-6), Westminster.
189: Ryan Dell (15-6), North Carroll; Dustin Wiles (14-9), Francis Scott Key.
Heavyweight: Jake Creech (15-7) or Mike Steele (6-0), South Carroll; Justin Bachman, Francis Scott Key; Cory Stouffer (8-3); Francis Scott Key.