MDCC tournament takes center stage

February 19, 2009

Boys Basketball

Cumberland Valley Christian and Heritage Academy have not been strangers when it comes to the Mason Dixon Christian Conference Tournament championship game.

Tonight at St. Maria Goretti, each will take to the court in the tournament semifinals with an eye toward Saturday's title game.

CVCS has been in the last three championship games. The Blazers will meet Faith Christian at 8 p.m. CVCS beat Faith for the title in 2007.

"We'll be pretty rested and it's been the first time we've had some practice time," said Blazers coach Dan Larson. "We are not looking past Faith. We'll come out and be aggressive and play hard. Our plan is to get out and run."


CVCS is led by Nick Bunting, who is second in the Tri-State area in scoring with a 20.4 average. He is backed up by Scott Levy (12.6) and Tyler Larson (11.8). Bunting also averages 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.4 steals.

The Blazers also won the MDCC title in 2006 by defeating New Life Christian, but might have revenge as a motive if Heritage Academy beats New Life in the other semifinal toay at 5.

Last season, Heritage knocked off CVCS 65-43 for the crown. The Eagles also won in 2005 over Shalom Christian.

During the regular season, CVCS and Heritage locked horns three times. Heritage won 52-34 in the Maryland School for the Deaf Holiday outing and in league play, 45-39 on Jan. 20. CVCS came back with a 55-44 win at Heritage on Jan. 29.

The Eagles are not looking past New Life, however.

"Both of our games against New Life were well-contested games, and we realize this will be a hard-fought battle," said Heritage coach Mike Kidd. "(New Life) has some solid perimeter shooters."

In Tuesday's 52-26 tourney-opening win over Grace Academy, Kidd said his team wasn't up to par.

"We did not play well in the first half. ... We struggled and it was frustrating, but we came around in the second half," said Kidd.

Andrew Hendershot leads Heritage with a 14.9 scoring average and Andrew Harrell pulls down 5.8 rebounds per game.

Saturday's consolation game will be played at 11:30 a.m., and the championship game will tip off at 2:30 p.m.

Bits and pieces

* Clear Spring (14-6) will post its best win-loss record since going 18-6 in the 2003-04 season.

* In Tuesday's 61-44 loss to Maret School, St. James' Mike Russ scored 18 points -- in the first 12 minutes of the game -- before fouling out in the second quarter.

* Hot and cold: Berkeley Springs has won four of its last six games. Jefferson followed a four-game losing streak with its current four-game winning streak heading into tonight's game against No. 1 Martinsburg. South Hagerstown has lost three straight. Clear Spring has won five of its last six. Smithsburg has lost four straight.

* St. Frances Academy (27-3) and Calvert Hall (27-4) meet for the MIAA title on Sunday at UMBC before jumping into the Baltimore Catholic League tournament next week. St. Frances beat Calvert Hall twice during the regular season. As the first-place team during the BCL regular season, St. Frances will go against St. Maria Goretti on Tuesday in the opening round.

Girls Basketball

Heritage Academy turned the tables on Shalom Christian last Friday as the Eagles earned a share of the Mason Dixon Christian Conference title with the Flames.

Shalom (21-2, 13-1) defeated Heritage (22-2, 13-1) 50-17 on Dec. 9 in a game Eagles star Morgan McIntire -- who averages 20.2 points per game -- missed with a minor knee injury.

"We missed her floor leadership in particular," Eagles coach Ed Dorsey said. "The girls basically just weren't prepared to play that game without her, and that was the biggest thing."

McIntire was in the lineup for the rematch, and her 19 points and nine rebounds led Heritage to a 50-41 win.

"We'd been looking forward to that game for many games, and the girls were excited, they were ready, they played hard and played their game," Dorsey said.

Heritage got a lift from freshman Jessica Gaylor, who scored eight points in the third quarter as the Eagles took the lead.

"We outscored them 14-9 in the third, and she had eight of them," Dorsey said.

The two teams are likely to renew acquaintances Saturday in the MDCC Tournament final at St. Maria Goretti's Gael Center. They have to win semifinal games today first -- Heritage against Cumberland Valley Christian (11-10, 7-7) and Shalom against New Life Christian (15-5, 10-4).

"The practice tonight, the girls were loose, they're excited and ready," Dorsey said Thursday. "I'm done with the coaching at this point, it's time for them to execute. We're not looking past CVCS, we're taking it one game at a time."

* North Hagerstown (18-2, 7-1) wrapped up a share of the MVAL Piedmont title by defeating South Hagerstown 77-43 on Tuesday. The Hubs share the title with Middletown (16-3, 7-1), which knocked off Walkersville 50-29 on Tuesday to earn its piece of the crown. The teams split two regular-season meetings.

* Boonsboro (15-5, 9-1) wrapped up the MVAL Antietam title, but it did not go as expected. Smithsburg (14-6, 8-2) beat the Warriors 50-28 on Tuesday and would have shared the title, but the Leopards were upset by Williamsport 55-53 last Friday, ending Smithsburg's title hopes.

* Martinsburg (18-3, 6-0) wrapped up a perfect Apple Valley League campaign by defeating Jefferson 61-55 last Friday. The Bulldogs passed three major Eastern Panhandle tests in the last eight days, as they also earned wins over Hedgesville, 40-38, and Musselman, 63-60.

* Waynesboro senior Mallory Wishard set the school's all-time girls scoring record in her final game as a Maiden, scoring 18 points in a 75-38 loss to Carlisle in a PIAA District 3 Class AAAA play-in game. Wishard finished her career with 1,309 points, one more than Nicki Straley, who set the record in 1990.

-- Staff writers Dan Kauffman and Tim Koelble contributed to this notebook.

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