Broadfording has a new head coach, as Shawn Burgener has taken the reins after Dana Gonzales had to resign while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Burgener coached Saint James’ girls last season, and had an exploratory interview with Lions athletic director Bill Wyand last summer before the position came open. Eric Boone — an assistant under Gonzales whose daughter Jade plays for Broadfording — has remained on the bench under Burgener.
“(Burgener) certainly has a great knowledge of the game of basketball and a solid Christian testimony,” Wyand said. “He has a desire to work with student-athletes, and when you bring all those things in combination together, it’s a recipe for success. Winning is not the only thing or the most important thing, it’s continuing to develop the program.
“It’s tough to make a transition in the middle of the year ... but I’m excited to move forward with both Coach Boone and Coach Burgener and strengthen what we’re trying to do with Broadfording girls basketball.”
Wyand praised Gonzales’ efforts. His first stint with Broadfording many years ago included several very successful Lions teams. He returned to Broadfording’s bench last season and organized a reunion for the program’s 1,000-point scorers.
“If you go way back, Coach Gonzales really built Broadfording girls basketball and had some phenomenal teams that accomplished some tremendous goals,” Wyand said. “He stepped away for a while ... and we had some average girls teams but it wasn’t quite the same, and then he stepped back into it last year with the idea of continuing to build the program back up. He was doing a great job and I appreciate everything he brought every time he worked with the girls.”
* Smithsburg (5-3, 4-1) travels to Catoctin (7-4, 5-1) in a key MVAL Antietam matchup tonight. The Leopards and Cougars are two of the league’s three teams with just one league loss — North Hagerstown (5-4, 4-1) is the other, while South Hagerstown (7-5, 4-2) sits in fourth.
The Leopards will need to rebound after a tough 44-40 loss to a solid Middletown squad on Tuesday. Elisa Owens leads Smithsburg at 16.0 points per game, while point guard Alexis Andrukat and center Danielle Harbaugh each average 9.9 points per game.
Tonight’s action signals the end of the first half of the MVAL Antietam Conference season.
Right now, it appears South Hagerstown is the team to beat, even though its lead over Smithsburg is a slim one game.
The Rebels enter tonight at Brunswick with a 6-0 league record, while Smithsburg is 5-1 — its only Antietam loss coming to South 74-52 on Jan. 3.
South is on a nine-game winning streak after opening the season with losses to Tuscarora and Urbana — two teams in the same 3A West region as the Rebels, along with Frederick, Linganore and Thomas Johnson.
South has a match with Frederick on Jan. 17 and will close out the regular season at Linganore on Feb. 17. Except for Thomas Johnson, those teams are all above .500, as well as Oakdale, a solid 2A West opponent on the Rebels’ schedule Feb. 15.
The Rebels are hoping to make a second straight state tournament appearance come March.
* There aren’t any eye-popping numbers when it comes to individual scoring leaders in Washington County this season, and that alone leaves the race for The Herald-Mail’s Player of the Year wide open.
Heading into Thursday’s action, Nnamdi Enechionyia of Saint James was averaging 15.6 points through 10 games, just ahead of Clear Spring’s Nick Hill at 15.4 per contest.
Throughout the Tri-State, Greencastle-Antrim’s Denver Cordell is on top with a 19.7 average, slightly ahead of Hedgesville’s Q.J. Peterson at 19.3. Martinsburg’s Jalen Lewis is next at 17.3. All three are playing on unbeaten teams, at least through Wednesday.
* Hedgesville (10-0) travels to Martinsburg (9-0) tonight, and it’s not uncommon for the Kelly Church-led Eagles to be unbeaten by the time it gets to the first game of the year against the rival Bulldogs.
This will be the third straight year Hedgesville has come into the game unbeaten. Martinsburg had one loss last year, and two years ago both teams were perfect.
The Eagles won the first game 41-39 and lost only one other regular-season game — the second meeting with Martinsburg — on the way to a 23-2 season and a West Virginia Class AAA state tournament appearance.
South Hagerstown’s program is on the up and up.
At 3-3, the Rebels already have tripled their number of dual-meet victories from last season. And their annual Rebel Duals this weekend will have 10 teams, more than double the size of last year’s field (four).
“We just want to increase our program and have a foundation to build on,” said Thomas Ashby, South’s first-year head coach. “We’re excited about this weekend. Hopefully we can make this a respectable tournament, just like the Hub Cup is across town.”
The 10-team field includes three Washington County schools — Boonsboro, Williamsport and host South. They’ll be joined by James Buchanan, Century, Frederick, Linganore, Thomas Johnson, Walkersville and Westminster.
While Williamsport is the defending champion, Century and James Buchanan look like the teams to beat.
The Rebels will have their work cut out for them, as Ashby said standouts Marquil Holt (220 pounds) and Aaron Rowland (285), who are a combined 21-1 this season with three tournament titles between them, most likely will be sidelined with injuries.
“They’re out for the tournament unless they’re cleared by the doctor tomorrow,” Ashby said on Thursday evening. “That’s a big blow for us. That’s a 24-point swing for us in just about every match.
“But the other 12 boys will still get the nine matches that they’re looking for, and we’ll hope to see some real wrestling out of those guys without those two top dogs.”
Each team will wrestle the other nine teams once, getting four duals this evening and five more on Saturday. Final team standings will be based on overall records for the two days.
Awards will go to the top four teams, and a most outstanding wrestler will be named for each of the 14 weight classes.
Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. today and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Indoor Track & Field
The MVAL conference championships were held last weekend and bigger meets are on the horizon.
The Washington County championships are Jan. 20 at Hagerstown Community College, the Maryland 2A West region meet is Feb. 6 at HCC, the 3A West meet is Feb. 6 at Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex and the 1A West meet is Feb. 11 at HCC. The state championships will be held at Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex, Feb. 20 for 1A and 2A and Feb. 21 for 3A and 4A.
* A few county athletes already have set indoor school records this season, including three from Boonsboro — Abby Duncan in the girls 55-meter dash (7.38 seconds), Sarah Zielinski in the girls 3,200-meter run (11:34.25) and J.R. Lowery in the boys shot put (55 feet, 2 1/2 inches).
Also, Lauren Johnson lowered Smithsburg’s school record in the girls 3,200 to 12:14.61.
— Assistant sports editor Andrew Mason and staff writers Dan Kauffman and Tim Koelble compiled this week’s prep notebook.