Advertisement

TJ, Vikings craving respect

February 08, 2001|By DAN SPEARS

TJ, Vikings craving respect



For Frederick County's two best boys basketball teams, today's tipoff for the 28th Annual St. James Invitational isn't as much the culmination of things, but another step up a tall mountain.

"We always look forward to playing here, but the good thing is that we look forward to every game," Thomas Johnson coach Tom Dickman said. "Whether it's January at Westminster or a tournament like this, we've got kids that like to play."

The Patriots (13-2, No. 1 Herald-Mail poll) haven't lost yet to a public school team, but will be the only one around this weekend on the St. James campus. And therein lies the biggest drawback for TJ, which is in a dogfight for the top seed in Class 3A West with defending champion Paint Branch.

"That's the catch-22. We love to compete against this level of teams - they should be head and shoulders above us. The only problem is that this will count against us in the region," Dickman said. "By the end of the weekend, we could go from first to fifth or sixth. That's not good.

Advertisement

"Anyone involved in basketball knows a seed is important, whether it's the NCAA Tournament or the 3A West regional."

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> For St. John's at Prospect Hall (16-4, No. 7 Herald-Mail poll), its return to St. James isn't about seeds, but about degrees. The Vikings are back for the first time since coaching legend Stu Vetter left the school in 1998.

In a big twist of irony, Prospect Hall faces its former mentor and his new squad, Montrose Christian, today at 5:30.

"This won't be weird at all," Vikings coach Bruce Kelley said. "In fact, it's almost inevitable. Time has passed and everybody seems happy with where they're at. I hope this game will be looked at because of the basketball and not what used to be."

It used to be that Prospect Hall would be competing for national championships, much less just area recognition. Under Kelley, the Vikings are starting their way back to that frame of mind.

"A lot of people don't get this opportunity, so we're happy. Hopefully we'll play well," Kelley said. "In central Maryland, this is the premier place to be. If we want to be good, we've got to be a part of it.

"Hopefully, we play well enough to show we belong. It's important to me - and to the guys - to measure themselves."

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|