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Antietam adopts a retro look

December 03, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

It's just like a family reunion. Everyone is back together again in the MVAL Antietam Conference.

After a two-year move to the Piedmont Conference, North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown are back in the Antietam, meaning their games against Washington County rivals Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Smithsburg and Williamsport will hold a little more meaning.

It also means the chances of the Antietam title returning to Washington County increase as Brunswick, which was 10-0 a year ago, tries to defend its crown.

Williamsport, 13-10 last year and 5-5 in the Antietam, won the 2007-08 title and have the potential ingredients to make another run.

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Clear Spring, 16-7 last year and second in the Antietam at 6-4, also has a returning nucleus that could challenge for the top.

North (11-13) and South (10-13) each went through losing seasons for the second straight year in the MVAL Piedmont Conference. North has not had a winning season since 2005-06; South's drought has lasted since 2003-04.

Smithsburg, 8-16 last year, has not been above .500 since a 16-8 season in 2005-06. Boonsboro is coming off a dismal 3-21 record, including three forfeits. Their last season above .500 was in 2006-07, when they went 14-9.

Broadfording Christian

The Lions, who went 21-12 last season, lost All-County first-teamer Armondo Miller and his 17 points to graduation, but the cupboard is not bare.

Senior guard Gabe Hirsch, who is strong with his quickness defensively, 6-3 junior forward Pete Cradduck and transfer Iver Silva, a 5-11 guard, are the nucleus that will give the Lions some firepower.

"We want to get out and run, be physical and get after it," said Lions coach Burnie Clutz.

Hirsch led the area last year with five steals per game and also had three assists per game.

Boonsboro

Better things were expected last year but that's all history and the Warriors are starting fresh with four returning players with starting experience -- 6-3 Nate Bonner, 6-2 Matt Schottman, 6-0 Haquan Grant and 5-9 Jeremy Hardy.

"I think we've got a tough, physical group and mentally tough also," said coach John Taylor. "We don't have any superstars. We'll look for guys to step up and lead.

Taylor has hope for Dylan Eavey and Luis Alvarez to help as they come up from the JV and a physical presence from football standout Branden McLean. Another who could help is 6-4 Lonnel Tinsley, a senior transfer and a cousin of former Williamsport standout Will Taylor.

Clear Spring

Gone are All-County first-teamer Kyle Crist (13 ppg) and honorables Jordan Thurber and Jordan Lavender, but the Blazers have experience in the fold to challenge for the Antietam.

A trio of seniors -- 6-3 Brandon Glazer, 6-5 Cody Englehart and 6-3 Joel Rowe -- will lead the Blazers for coach Mark Shives.

"I think this is the first year we've gained more respect and our seniors will make us a representative team," said Shives. "Depth might be a problem, but we'll get out and get after it on offense. We've got some height and Brandon is a nice player."

Brad Banzhoff and Mike Braithwaite will be the guard tandem and Shives also has Mercersburg transfer Sam Elwood, a 5-10 guard who could play a big role.

Grace Academy

Returning to his alma mater, first-year coach Mark Koontz Jr. picked up his first win on Tuesday after the Knights won just three games over the last two seasons.

"It's been a couple of rough years, but most of the guys back this year are seniors and they're working hard," said Koontz, a 2000 Grace graduate.

Among those returning are senior Caleb Serafini, a honorable mention player last year; Sean Koontz, Mark Koontz (no relation), Zack Morgan, Kenny Frederickson, Andy Michael and Luke Bunting.

Hancock

Hancock returns experience that gives coach Ron Hose hope of turning the Panthers around, led by seniors Logan True and Nick Harvey and junior Jarrod McCoy.

"We've got the potential to go .500 but it depends on how things work out," said Hose. "We'll have to execute to get easy looks on offense. We've got (Spencer) Heller and (Ethan) Martin in there to pound the glass and McCoy has made a commitment to getting stronger and I'm looking for good things from him."

Heritage Academy

Heritage Academy has been at the top of the rung the past two seasons in the Mason Dixon Christian Conference and have gone 47-7 in the last two years. But they lost several key perimeter players.

"We're making progress," said coach Mike Kidd. "We need to learn quickly this season and that takes a while for younger players. But we have kids that are solid and competitive."

Among those are 5-9 senior Travis Bartholow, who plays taller and won't be afraid to get inside and scrap for the basketball; 6-2 Andrew Harrell and 5-8 guard Aaron Clark.

"Travis is our 'Mr. Everywhere,'" said Kidd. "He makes things happen."

Highland View

First-year coach John Henline plans on installing a new system with more sets offensively than just a run-and-gun style.

"I'm hoping the guys learn this system and buy into it," said Henline.

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