With division games starting and the playoffs nearing, it appears that Class 1A North will offer fierce competition for the regional boys basketball crown. Four teams have established themselves as principal contenders for the 1A championship.
New Town (6-5) is the reigning 1A state champion. The team is led by point guard Stuart Clark, a senior who can score on drives or shoot from long range.
"Stu, you can tell he's mature for his age," Digital Harbor coach Johnnie Grimes said at the Basketball Academy. "He does everything well and has a great sense of the game."
No. 12 Digital Harbor (9-4) is the up-and-comer. The Rams were off the radar to start the season, but led by the backcourt of George and Justin Jackson, they are the only 1A team ranked. They're a bit young, with only one senior (Jermaine Edwards) in the starting lineup, but have the talent for a legitimate run.
Owings Mills (10-2) is the dark horse in the group. The Eagles' only losses have come against No. 6 St. Frances and New Town by a combined seven points, and they have the best big man on the four teams in Andrew Fitzgerald, a 6-7 power forward who moves well and controls inside.
"[Fitzgerald] gives us a lot of versatility because he can do so much for a player his height," coach Richard Epps said. "I think he's one of the best forwards in our area."
Dunbar (7-6) is still a team that can't be taken lightly. The Poets have 11 1A state titles since 1993, but started this season slowly, including a 56-33 rout by New Town. In upsetting the Rams last week, they showed what they're still capable of. Forward Sean Farr has been their go-to player this season.
Eastern Tech girls basketball -- Cassie Anderson usually plays one of the forward positions for the Mavericks, but injuries to teammates last week forced her to play point guard. The senior didn't miss a beat. Not only did she run the offense, but she also scored 68 points and had 37 rebounds, 12 steals and 10 assists in leading the Mavericks to three wins. She had 26 points in a 44-41 victory over Randallstown and 24 in a 63-35 win over Loch Raven as the Mavericks improved to 8-3.
Mount St. Joseph basketball -- Henry Sims proved again that he's one of the best players in the area. No. 1 Mount St. Joseph narrowly fell, 73-70, to Oak Hill Academy of Mouth of Wilson, Va., on Sunday. Sims was nearly unstoppable, scoring 32 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking three shots. What makes his statistics even more impressive was the competition he faced. Sims, who will attend Georgetown in the fall, matched up with Keith Gallon, a top prospect in the class of 2009. "Henry kind of reminds me of [Georgetown's] Roy Hibbert coming out of high school," said Brad Eye, East Region correspondent for studentsports.com. "He's still improving and he's improved greatly over his four years so far."
Points scored by Seton Keough's Erin Brooks in becoming the first girl to win four individual events in the history of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland indoor track championships
Points scored by Mount St. Joseph center Henry Sims in the Gaels' 73-70 loss to Oak Hill Academy of Mouth of Wilson, Va., on Sunday in Springfield, Mass.