Arundel girls basketball coach Lee Rogers said recently that his team "lost respect when we lost to Old Mill last year [in the Class 4A East regional final], and we're trying to gain that respect back."
If the Wildcats did lose respect, they certainly regained it last week, beating Old Mill, 69-43, and South River, 68-54.
Under Rogers, Arundel has earned plenty of respect over the years. The Wildcats have gone 187-36 (.839) since the 1999-2000 season, with two state titles (2000, 2004) and three other appearances in the state final four. Rogers, in his 19th season, has a career record of 367-103 (.765), including this season's 8-4 record through the South River victory Friday. Rogers has won three state titles, the other in 1996.
"We had a lot of things going on last year," Rogers said. "I lost my dad, and it was emotional. But at the time, Old Mill was the best team. I applaud them for doing what they had to do to get there. But now it's this year, and our kids didn't forget that [losing to Old Mill] and it inspired our practices."
Sophomore Sherrone Vails had 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots in the victory over Old Mill, while junior Simone Egwu had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
In the South River game, Vails, 6 feet 4, had 20 points and 18 rebounds.
The Wildcats lost standout point guard Ayanna Randolph to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason, and sophomore Talen Watson has stepped up.
"We lost Ayanna for the season and now it's Talen's team," Rogers said. "Those guys are looking to her to lead the ballclub. She has a big responsibility as a sophomore."
Quick hits -- The Glen Burnie boys basketball team ended a three-game losing streak Friday with a 62-34 rout of Chesapeake. Danny Murphy scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds for the Gophers (8-5). ... Broadneck's C.J. Ricker, a 6-4 junior, is the quintessential role player. Ricker had all seven of his points in a crucial 11-2 third-period run in the No. 11 Bruins' 57-51 victory over Severna Park on Saturday. ... Lerah Crasnmer's 16 points led Severn (15-3) of the Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference to a 55-32 romp Saturday over rival St. Mary's of the IAAM A Conference in girls basketball.