Local backcourt drives Randolph-Macon to 21-1


Tim Smith is a slightly reserved basketball talent from Millersville, where he played for Old Mill High.

Jamal Brunt is a more forceful big-city personality on and off the basketball court, learning the game at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore.

The two 6-foot-2 senior co-captains form the starting backcourt for Randolph-Macon College, which sports a 21-1 record and is the No. 3-ranked Division III men's team in the nation.

Smith and Brunt have helped the program in Ashland, Va., 30 miles north of Richmond, resurface as a national force after a 30-year hiatus. As usual, it's a shared experience.

Brunt said: "We're always together. It's kind of been that way since we met playing AAU ball for SPYO Express at Fort Meade. We even had our visit to Randolph-Macon at the same time."

"They are the main reasons our program is where it is today," said Randolph-Macon coach Mike Rhoades, who has watched the Yellow Jackets rise from a 13-12 team three years ago. "Although they are close friends, they are different people. Jamal challenges everything. Tim just takes things more in stride."

Other than Smith's run for the school's all-time steals lead (he needs two to become No. 1 with 179), this all-Baltimore backcourt is all about winning and not much about individual stats.

Smith averages 7.1 points, a team-leading 3.4 assists, is first in three-point shooting percentage at 46.9 (30-for-64) and is tops in steals with 32 this season.

Brunt averages 4.3 points, is second in assists with 2.3 a game and is fourth in steals with 21 this season. While Brunt has the distinction of being the team's point guard, it is Smith's job as the shooting guard to set the offense in motion by getting the ball into the post.

Smith said: "I'm looking for Jared Mills [leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker] on the post. He's our go-to-guy and he kicks it back outside if he's not open."

Brunt said, "I bring the ball upcourt, look for Tim, and then we both try to get everybody involved in the offense."

It may be an old-fashioned approach to backcourt play, with the point guard not having to penetrate to be successful, but who can argue with 21-1, winning streaks of 12 and nine and a drive toward a possible national championship?

Thompson breaks record

Sophomore Alexis Thompson (Seton Keough) recently established a Roanoke College women's indoor track and field record in the 200 meters , being clocked in 26.97 seconds at the East Tennessee State Invitational.

Thompson then was chosen the Old Dominion Athletic Conference women's indoor track and field Athlete of the Week, the first Roanoke track and field athlete to be honored by the ODAC this season.

Ewalt sparkles

Erin Ewalt (Lutheran) is something of a freshman women's swimming sensation for Randolph-Macon, posting the school's top times this season in six individual events and being part of two relay teams that have the school's best times this season.

Ewalt is No. 1 in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events, is first in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly races, is tops in the 200- and 400-yard individual medleys, and has swum on the top 200- and 800-yard freestyle relay teams.

Et cetera

Freshman forward Keila Evans (St. Frances Academy) has scored 13 points and grabbed 18 rebounds this season while averaging 7.3 minutes in 12 games for the Wake Forest women's basketball team. Evans, 6-3, also has three blocks and three steals for the Deacons, who are 1-10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 10-11 overall.

University of Delaware women's freshman guard Karleena Tobin (Friends) has two steals in 12 minutes of action in seven games this season. The Blue Hens are 9-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association and 14-6 overall.

Sophomore forward Andrew Ross (Calvert Hall) recently scored a career-high 10 points for Shippensburg University in a loss to Lock Haven.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree706@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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