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Prep Notes: Basketball playoffs arrive

February 24, 2011

Girls Basketball

A preview of the playoff action that will unfold across the area in the next few days:

* Friday, Maryland Class 1A West East Sectional quarterfinal — Catoctin (15-7) at Boonsboro (10-12): The Cougars swept the Warriors in two games this season — 48-44 on Jan. 13, and 66-27 on Feb. 8 — and will be the favorite. But Catoctin is just 2-4 in its last six games and has had stretches of extremely poor shooting.

Boonsboro, like Catoctin, scores predominantly from the perimeter. The Warriors will need all their weapons, including Ashley Smothers (12.0 points, 3.2 steals per game), Kara Nettleton (8.1 points, 2.7 steals), Ashlyn Hawbaker (7.4 points) and Amber Smith (7.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.9 steals).

* Friday, Maryland Class 1A West West Sectional quarterfinal — Southern Garrett (11-10) at Hancock (7-14): The Panthers are 1-4 in their last five games and will be underdogs against the visiting Rams. Hancock will need a big game from Maureen Leavy, who has had a bunch of them while averaging 14.8 points and 15.4 rebounds this season.

* Friday, Maryland Class 2A West first round — North Hagerstown (12-6) at Francis Scott Key (1-20): This was as good a draw as the sixth-seeded Hubs could have hoped for. North beat FSK 51-35 a week ago and is playing its best ball of the season, going 7-2 in its last nine games.

Iman Scott (11.8 points per game this season, 17.0 points per game the last three games) has been the Hubs’ most consistent offensive player, and Akatshi Osongo (12.7 points per game the last six games) has given North a post presence over the last month.

It will get much harder for the Hubs after the first round: No. 3-seed South Carroll (18-3) awaits in the quarterfinals, and if North gets past that, No. 2-seed Liberty (16-4) will likely be the semifinal opponent. Liberty beat the Hubs 70-69 on a last-second 3-pointer on Feb. 16 and also eliminated North for the playoffs last season.

* Friday, West Virginia Class AAA Region II Section 1 final — Hedgesville (14-9) at Martinsburg (15-8): The top-seeded Bulldogs swept both meetings with the Eagles earlier this season, 64-53 on Jan. 20 and 62-59 nine days later.

* Friday, West Virginia Class AA Region II Section 1 final — Frankfort at Berkeley Springs (21-1): The Indians have had their best season ever — led by Deidra Burch (19 points, 6.5 assists, 5.7 steals per game) and Sarah Haynes (18.2 points, 5.4 steals) — and are looking to reach the state tournament for the second time in three years.

Frankfort is a dangerous opponent, as proved by its 61-39 home win over Berkeley Springs on Jan. 21. But this game is in the Indians’ gym, where Berkeley Springs beat Frankfort 62-55 on Dec. 21.

* Friday and Saturday, Mason Dixon Christian Conference final four at Grace Academy: No. 1-seed Heritage Academy (18-2) earned a bye into the final four and will be a significant favorite to win its semifinal and face either No. 2-seed New Life or No. 3-seed Faith Christian in Saturday’s final.

If that’s the case, it should be a very competitive final. The Eagles split two games with New Life (winning 77-57 at New Life on Dec. 14 and losing 49-46 at home on Jan. 27) en route to sharing the regular-season title. Heritage swept Faith (winning 50-33 on Jan. 4 and 47-45 on Feb. 4) but the second game was a nail-biter.

Heritage is led by Rachel Clarke — an all-MDCC first-team honoree — and Jessica Gaylor, who made the second team.

* Saturday, Maryland Class 1A West East Sectional quarterfinal — Manchester Valley (10-11) at Williamsport (7-15): The Wildcats have really struggled in the last couple weeks, going 1-5 in their last six games and averaging just 31.6 points per game in the last five — including a 62-33 loss to Manchester Valley on Feb. 15.

Kayla Ewing has played the best of any Wildcat of late, but Williamsport really needs to get bigger contributions from Stacey Christy and Chelsea Scott if the Wildcats are going to win. Christy is a sophomore and Scott a freshman, so Williamsport’s best days are likely to come in the next year or two.

* Saturday, Maryland Class 1A West West Sectional quarterfinal — Clear Spring (3-18) at Northern Garrett (18-4): The Blazers will be massive underdogs at the No. 2 seed in the sectional. They’ve been hurt by the losses of Dominique Forsman (left team for undisclosed reasons in early January) and Morgan Purdham (torn ACL earlier this month).

One bright spot for Clear Spring has been the play of Jess Barnhart, who is among Washington County leaders in scoring at 14.4 points per game.

* Saturday, Maryland Class 3A West first round — Tuscarora (11-11) at South Hagerstown (4-16): The Rebels, as expected, have had a rebuilding year but have found a gem in freshman Katrice Dickson, who leads South in every major statistical category (11.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.9 steals, 2.0 assists, 1.3 blocks per game). Should the Rebels beat the Titans and earn a quarterfinal matchup with top-seed Frederick, they’d have to consider that a success.

* Tuesday, Maryland Class 1A West East Sectional semifinals — Manchester Valley-Williamsport winner at Smithsburg (21-1): The Leopards’ quest to return to the state tournament will begin against a team the MVAL Antietam champions have already beaten this season. Smithsburg swept Williamsport in two games (41-32 on Jan. 14 and 55-39 on Feb. 10) and beat Manchester Valley 54-36 a week ago.

The Leopards have won 15 straight games and are led by Katie Sprecher (17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds per game). Sara Rishell (9.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.1 blocks), Taylor Belella (9.3 points, 3.3 assists) and Alexis Andrukat (7.4 points, 4.0 assists, 3.2 steals) have all played well.



Boys Basketball

Not only is it the time of year when postseason games dominate the headlines, it’s the time when serious thoughts start to be given to The Herald-Mail’s All-County teams and the player of the year.

This season, it’s going to be tough selecting the POY and the first team for sure.

Here’s a look at the players, based on a quick stats check, who could be in the running (in no particular order):

* Aaron Clark, Heritage Academy: 17.8 points, 4.8 assists, 5.3 steals per game.

* Stephen Christy, Williamsport: 17.6 points, 5.4 rebounds.

* Spencer Heller, Hancock: 16.2 points, 17.7 rebounds.

* D.D. Dickson, North Hagerstown: 15.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.1 steals.

* Aaron Dinterman, Smithsburg: 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds.

* Andre Pierre, South Hagerstown: 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 steals.

* Avery Wilmore, Saint James: 15.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.6 steals.

* Pete Cradduck, Broadfording: 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists.

* Alec Wheeler, Saint James: 13.2 points, 3.3 assists, 2.7 steals.

* Devon King, South Hagerstown: 11.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks.

* Tyler Wise, Williamsport: 12 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 blocks.

* Connor Arnone, Williamsport: 10.5 points, 3.7 assists.

* Troy Cosner, Heritage Academy: 13.9 points, 9.0 rebounds.

* Eric Boutillier, Grace Academy: 14.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 steals.

There will be a new player of the year, as Clear Spring’s Brandon Glazer and St. Maria Goretti’s Nic Martin — co-honorees last season — both graduated.

Dickson, Arnone, Wilmore and Pierre were All-County first-team selections last year.

* Highland View Academy closed out its season with a 68-65 overtime victory against Shenandoah Valley Academy.

Coach/athletic director John Henline reported that Highland View’s win was its first in more than 25 years against Shenandoah.

* Chambersburg heads into its PIAA District 3-AAAA playoff quarterfinal Saturday against York with an 18-5 record which includes a 10-game win streak, the longest currently in the Tri-State. Martinsburg is next with a five-game streak and South Hagerstown has a four-gamer.

* On the flip side, Cumberland Valley Christian has a 13-game losing streak and St. Maria Goretti is next with seven straight losses.



Wrestling

The Maryland Class 2A-1A West region championships will be held Friday and Saturday at North Hagerstown.

The only two Washington County wrestlers with No. 1 seeds are both from Williamsport — senior Kemper Baker at 140 pounds and junior Zach Shoemaker at 145.

The No. 2 seed at 140 is Northern Garrett’s Matt Thomas, who beat Baker 4-2 in a dual meet earlier this year.

The No. 2 seed at 145 is Catoctin’s Collin Schildt, who won a Hub Cup title this year at 145, while Shoemaker was the champ at 152.

The bracket at 112 is primed for Sweeney-Colbert III.

Catoctin senior Jon Sweeney defeated North Hagerstown freshman Brendon Colbert 7-4 in the Hub Cup finals. A few weeks later, Colbert avenged his lone season loss, blanking Sweeney 4-0 in a dual meet.

Sweeney is seeded No. 1 this weekend at 112, while Colbert is No. 2.

Tournament schedule: Friday — preliminaries, 5 p.m.; quarterfinals 5:30; consolation first round, 7:45.

Saturday — championship semifinals, 10 a.m.; consolation semifinals, noon; consolation finals, 2 p.m.; championship finals, 3:30.



Indoor Track & Field

Boonsboro junior J.R. Lowery fell just short in his publicized goal to achieve the top overall throw at this week’s Maryland state championships.

Lowery won the Class 1A title Monday with a throw of 50 feet, 7 1/2 inches. While that mark also would have won both 2A and 3A, it would have placed him second in 4A to Thomas Johnson’s Brian Uthe, who threw 52-11 on Wednesday.

Two North Hagerstown seniors who won Class 2A titles Monday each tied for second overall with their performances — Anthony Winter in the boys 55-meter dash (6.49 seconds) and Beth Wagner in the girls high jump (5 feet, 6 inches).

— Assistant sports editor Andrew Mason and staff writers Dan Kauffman and Tim Koelble contributed to this week’s notebook.

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