The host Archbishop Spalding boys basketball team proved its tenacity by hanging with No. 6 Mount Carmel in the first half Thursday. But the Cougars regrouped and built the lead in the second half to win, 54-47.
Mount Carmel improved to 16-6, 8-3 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. The Cavaliers fell to 4-17, 1-10.
Spalding jumped out to a 11-10 lead after the first quarter and trailed 24-23 at the half. But the Cougars outscored the Cavaliers 30-23 in the second half to separate themselves.
Will Jenkins went 5-for-10 from the field and 4-for-7 from the free-throw line for 14 points to lead Mount Carmel. Brian Jefferson added 13 points, going 4-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from the line.
Spalding's Nick Ashbeck led all scorers with 17 points.
No. 4 Aberdeen 69, Bel Air 29: Endia Jones scored a game-high 15 points and Kierra Palmer and Stephanie Jones added 14 each to power the Eagles (11-1) past the host Bobcats (4-7).
Aberdeen led 45-15 at halftime.
No. 1 McDonogh 56, Gilman 12: The host Eagles (7-0) lost the opening match before winning the next eight to beat the Greyhounds (4-5).
Karl Lindsay (113 pounds) got the run started, and Andrew Hurdle (160) finished it.
No. 8 South Carroll 45, North Carroll 28: After forfeiting the 106-pound class to open their match, the Cavaliers soon quickly took control over the visiting Panthers.
The next two matches ended in pins for South Carroll, getting it rolling on its way to a win.
At 113 pounds, sophomore Joey Thomas pinned North Carroll's Mimmo Greco in just 57 seconds. Tim Null followed that up with another pin at 120 over Aaron Nelson.
The Cavaliers (14-4, 3-1 county) had seven pins in the match, six of which occurred in the first period. Although South Carroll won a state title last year, it lost to the Panthers (14-10, 1-3), who went on to win the county championship. South Carroll made sure the result wouldn't be repeated this time around.
"Anytime you line up against a county opponent, you know it's going to be a tough dual meet," Cavaliers coach Bryan Hamper said. "North Carroll has a great history of wrestling. … The guys remember that they lost year, but this is a new year and a new team."
Added Null: "We knew they'd be a tough match, they beat us last year and we had something to prove and I think we did just that."
South Carroll battled injuries last year and similarly had to fight through that again at the beginning of this season, getting off to a rough start. The Cavaliers dropped their first four matches of the season, but since have become fully healthy, winning their last 14 matches.
Although winning matches is always positive for a team, Hamper and his team said they have the same goal in mind as last season — to win when it matters most, at the end of the season.
"Our focus is winning state titles," Hamper said. "These dual meets are just a measuring stick of where we're at right now, and we're using them to continue to get in better shape to be able to push the pace and, ultimately, our goal is to peak at the right time to a county, regional and state title."
Thomas and Null have been frequent partners in practice over the last two years, and the results of the hard work is showing on the mat. After both reached the state tournament and placed within the top four, they are hungry to return and bring home individual titles.
"We're just starting to turn the corner, and we have that chip on our shoulders," Null said. "Joey and I are working real hard in the room and we're actually getting extra practices trying to get that extra edge on the competition."
While the Cavaliers have aspirations for a repeat state championship, North Carroll is at a different place. The Panthers have 10 freshmen, none of whom have ever wrestled before, according to coach Brent Goretsas.
While North Carroll does have a winning record, the focus is for the young grapplers to learn from the coaches and veterans on the team. Two of those veterans are Dean Rill and Owen Rill, who won consecutive matchups for the Panthers on Thursday.
At 126, Dean Rill beat Tom Boldosser, 3-2, and at 132, Owen Rill defeated Jake Mackenzie, 10-0. Connor Waskiewicz also had a good night, pinning Blake McDermott in just 34 seconds at 152.
"We have a core of five or six kids, and we look for those kids to go out and wrestle well every time and we want for the rest of the kids to learn from watching them," Goretsas said. "The other kids are starting to learn and pick it up, wrestling is a process that takes two or three years easy to be able to wrestle at a varsity level so that's where we're at."
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