When Randallstown's girls basketball team started the season 6-6, it didn't appear the Rams would get back to the Baltimore County championship game, but they learned a few things that helped them finish the regular season with eight straight wins.
That run earned the Rams a return trip to the county final Friday at 7 p.m. at home. They will get another shot at No. 8 Catonsville, which beat Randallstown last season for the title.
"If you look at the way our schedule is set up, the games early on were going to be tough," Rams coach Ellen Fitzkee said, "and I think we learned a lot from our losses in terms of getting on the glass every night and playing good defense. We played much better as a team, and we probably had a lot more assists in the last part of the season."
The Rams (14-6) also benefited from the return of senior guard T'Arra Cutting, who had been sidelined until mid-January while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee.
Surprise hero for Old Mill
Old Mill was considered the slight favorite going into Saturday's state dual meet tournament finals in the 4A-3A classification against La Plata at Marriotts Ridge, but almost no one expected Tyrone Bryant, the Patriots' 189-pound wrestler, to be the hero. But he was.
After Thomas and Michael Sillaman won their matches at 160 and 171, respectively, it came down to Bryant, wrestling in the last bout with his team behind by one point. If this had been earlier in the season, Old Mill might have been in trouble. But coach Dan Youngblood said the senior has been working hard to become a force.
"His conditioning has gotten better and better, and he went after the opposing kid with one of the most aggressive performances I've seen from him," Youngblood said. "It was the best match I've seen him in all season. He was psyched up to win for his team."
Bryant won by pinning his La Plata opponent in 53 seconds. The six points he scored gave Old Mill a 32-27 victory.
Atholton looks to rebound
The Atholton boys basketball team had an uncharacteristically tough time last week in Howard County play, falling to Hammond, 67-62, and River Hill, 51-49, in its two games.
Just how uncharacteristically? In the past three years, the Raiders (17-3, 14-3 league) have lost just seven county games.
Still in line to reach their third straight county title game with a rematch against Hammond (17-3, 14-3) likely, the Raiders are hoping to make amends and springboard into the regional playoffs. "We look at it as a big thing for us, and it's significant. It gives the program validity; it's very important and I think the kids understand that," coach Jim Albert said.
Howard senior Nyree Williams recently grabbed her 1,000th career rebound. She already had reached the 1,000-point mark. ... Milford Mill's Devonne Richardson scored her 1,000th career point this month.