While Annapolis and Broadneck have been getting most of the headlines lately in county boys basketball, the Arundel Wildcats have been coming on strong.
Arundel has reeled off five wins in a row to run its overall record to 9-7 under second-year coach Tim Poole. Its latest win was by 68-56 over South River (5-11) Thursday to lift the Wildcats' Anne Arundel County League record to 7-3.
Senior leader Paul Bucknor, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward who averages 11 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, says the Wildcats, 6-17 last season, are coming together.
"We understand each other and how each of us plays," Bucknor said. "We've become a team."
Arundel will find out just how far it has come when it visits No. 4 Broadneck, the county leader at 9-1, at 6:45 Friday night.
"They beat us by 13 earlier [64-51 on Jan. 5], but it wasn't like a blowout," Bucknor said. "We had a bad shooting night. We can play with them and we're shooting to make the county championship game [which matches the top two teams]."
Packing a punch
South River 189-pound junior wrestler Ian Graham is seeking the state championship that eluded him last year (he was fifth), but his real passion is for boxing, not to mention mixed martial arts.
"It's a lot like wrestling, except the goal is to make them submit," said Graham, who is ranked No. 3 in The Sun's wrestling rankings and has been training with the Londontown club in jujitsu twice a week for three years. "It helps me with my wrestling flexibility and balance. Getting paid to hit people and train seems like the only job that I would want."
His boxing trainer, Edgewater's Chip Wood said Graham "makes the sacrifices rarely seen in someone so young."
Graham, who is 24-1 in wrestling this season with 13 of his 16 pins coming in the first period, is closing in on 80 career wins.
Burnie sophomore Tyler Rudd, son of Gophers coach Mike Rudd, had a career-high 16 points in a 94-62 rout of Northeast last week, and senior Kareem Downs had a career-high 13 assists. ... St. Mary's boys basketball team dealt first-place St. Vincent Pallotti (15-7, 11-2) its second Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference loss, 82-72, Friday to tighten up the standings. With junior Josh Morgan-Green leading the way, the Saints (17-6) headed into this week with an 11-3 league mark. John Carroll and Mount Carmel were both 10-3. ... Jessica Sewell had a season-high 15 rebounds to lead Glen Burnie to a 51-33 romp over Northeast last week as the Gophers, 7-16 last season, improved to 8-8. ... A girls basketball player to watch is Chesapeake's 5-8 sophomore Taylor Petrisko, who had 26 points in a 54-43 win over North County on Thursday.
Sun reporter Lem Satterfield contributed to this article.