Basketball notes - Md. 2A West will test area's best

February 27, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

In the rugged Class 2A West playoffs, no team - not even top-seeded and Herald-Mail No. 1 South Hagerstown - will waltz through untested.

"Walkersville, North, Middletown, they're three of a kind. They're all dangerous," Rebels coach Bob Starkey said Tuesday after South dispatched rival North Hagerstown, 83-68. "Every region game will be like tonight with the energy level. Every game will be tough."

Walkersville, the third seed which won the MVAL Piedmont Conference outright, may have to go through Fort Hill - which split a pair of games with South Hagerstown in December - as well as North and South. The Lions lost to both city teams in December, including an 84-78 double-overtime thriller to the Rebels.


"We played South and North at the beginning of year, and we could easily have won both of those games," Lions coach Bruce Zimmerman said. "Our kids are looking forward to playing one or both of them."

Brock McCollum, a Herald-Mail All-Area First Team selection last year, anchors the Lions inside, and he, Luther Weedon, Chris Hannigan and Dave Berry are capable perimeter shooters.

"We have four kids who can shoot the three," Zimmerman said. "When Brock's inside and people double down on him, he's gotten much better at kicking the ball out. Teams have to pick their poison."

Middletown, the fourth seed, has leading scorer John Keimig back from a broken wrist and Joe Keimig, Jon Hall and Kyle Lear all average double figures. The Knights host Winters Mill (3-19) in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal matchup with South.

"You get to South, and they're pretty awesome," Middletown coach Jon Jarrett said. "They've got the best player in the area and one of the best coaches, and they're really on a roll. It's going to be hard to knock them off."

A third meeting between the Rebels and Hubs - seeded second in 2A West - in the region championship game would be a crowning moment for city basketball.

But like Starkey, North coach Tim McNamee knows there's work to be done before such a meeting happens.

"There's a lot of basketball to be played," McNamee said Tuesday. "Either (Liberty or Francis Scott Key in the quarterfinals) would be a tough game to play."

  • Walkersville's girls enter the 2A West tournament winners of 44 straight games since December 2002. Should the defending state champs make it two in a row, the Lions' streak will stand at 49.

  • In boys Class 1A West, Allegany - which holds a 14-point victory over North Hagerstown this season - is the favorite. Clear Spring probably has the best chance of making a run, provided Alex Tyler's tendinitis doesn't sideline him. Williamsport has been hurt by the loss of several starters, including leading scorer Will Roney to mononucleosis.

Brunswick - with center Jason Anderson continuing to improve from an ankle injury - could be a sleeper, and if the Railroaders get past Beall on Saturday, a quarterfinal matchup with the Blazers would be one to watch.

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