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Williamsport keeps its eyes on the bald at states

March 10, 2000|By MARK KELLER / Sports Editor

WILLIAMSPORT - Thank goodness the players on the Williamsport boys basketball team wear numbers on their backs. Otherwise, coach Deron Crawford would have some trouble knowing who's who on his team.

cont. from sports page

The Wildcats lived up to a promise they made at the beginning of the season on Monday, pulling out the clippers and cutting their hair to the scalp as they prepared for today's Class 1A semifinal game against Crisfield at 3 p.m. at Cole Field House.

"I can't tell them apart now," Crawford said. "It's good though. I think it's a great thing. There's just so much excitement right now."

There's enough excitement around that the players couldn't wait to show off their new dos. Crawford said the original plan was to cut the hair after Thursday's practice, then unveil their baldness when they take the College Park floor just before game time.

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"They just couldn't wait that long," Crawford said. "They got the clippers out after practice and there were other athletes standing around and watching."

And the reaction from the players? An overwhelming thumbs up.

"It feels a little more aerodynamic," Chris Barton said.

"I've never had a buzz before, but I've got to do what the team does," said Corey Wolfensberger, one of the authors of the preseason plan.

Wolfensberger and Ryan Grabill, both three-year varsity players and the Wildcats' co-captains, discussed the idea of buzz cuts at the start of the season. A date at the University of Maryland would mean a date with the clippers.

Crawford said he knew of the plan, but didn't think the players would go through with it.

Among those who stood and watched was Ross Fox, who decided to sit out the haircut and instead endure the ribbing of his teammates.

"We told him we were going to hold him down," Grabill said. "But then he said we'd be going to Cole with bald heads and black eyes."

Fox did eventually relent, getting his hair trimmed down enough "to meet their standards," Crawford said. "I thought they were going to have me break out a ruler before they got on the bus."

But Fox wasn't the only holdout. Though Crawford always sports a short haircut, the players want him to go even shorter.

"They're still working on it," Crawford said. "I don't plan to, but they're working on it."

If Wolfensberger has his way, it will be done.

"I think we can take him," Wolfensberger said with a smile. "I mean, there's what, 12 of us and one of him? We got him."

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