Prep Notebook: Hubs mastering the mats

January 26, 2012


The Washington County tournament is still three weeks away, but North Hagerstown already has solidified its status as the overwhelming favorite.

With their 60-9 victory over Boonsboro on Wednesday, the Hubs completed a perfect run against the county’s other four public-school teams in dual meets this season, going 4-0 while outscoring Smithsburg, South Hagerstown, Williamsport and Boonsboro by a combined 233-61.

North is 13-4 overall and 5-0 in the MVAL Antietam Conference, needing a win at Catoctin on Feb. 2 to capture the conference title.

While it’s difficult for North coach Greg Slick to look past his next match — Saturday at Allegany — he can’t help but notice the Maryland Class 4A-3A West region standings that are right in front of him.

The Hubs are currently in fifth place with an 8-2 mark (results from dual-meet tournaments aren’t counted) in the race for the region duals, where the top four teams will compete Feb. 8.

“That’s the ultimate goal for us, to make it to regional duals,” Slick said.

Damascus and Springbrook are each 10-0 in the 4A-3A West standings, while Wootton is third at 12-1 and Churchill is fourth at 9-2. After North, Walter Johnson is sixth at 7-2, while Blake is seventh and seemingly out of contention at 7-4.

“We’re in fifth place,” Slick said. “We have to win out.”

After the matches at Allegany and Catoctin, all that remains on the regular-season schedule for North is a tri-meet with Francis Scott Key and host Fort Hill on Feb. 4. Based on their matches with common opponents, the Hubs should win those last four, making them 12-2. Only Catoctin should pose a threat.

Damascus and Springbrook each have four duals left, but none against each other or the other contenders. Wootton only has one match left, but it’s against Churchill. Churchill has four left, including a match against Walter Johnson, which has five left.

Many scenarios are sure to keep this interesting.

* Four Washington County wrestlers are still unbeaten this season. North Hagerstown’s Brendon Colbert (126 pounds) is 23-0, Williamsport’s Zach Shoemaker (160) is 28-0, Smithsburg’s Chase Scott (160) is 23-0 and South Hagerstown’s Marquil Holt (220) is 14-0.

Shoemaker and Scott likely will face each other in their teams’ dual at Smithsburg on Wednesday.

* Saint James is hosting the five-team Mid-Atlantic Conference championships today. Wrestling begins at 4:30 p.m.

* Chambersburg has its big boy back. Senior Dawson Peck, the PIAA state runner-up at 285 last season, returned to the Trojans’ lineup last week after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September.

Peck, who has signed to wrestle at Virginia Tech, is off to a 3-0 start.

* Jefferson senior Cody Butts (126) joined the century club Wednesday, pinning Hampshire’s Shannon Ruggles for his 100th carrer victory during the Cougars’ 42-27 loss to the Trojans.

Girls Basketball

A few games to keep an eye on — for one reason or another — in the next four days:

* Catoctin at North Hagerstown, tonight — The Cougars (10-5, 8-1) have the MVAL Antietam lead to themselves at the moment by one game over South Hagerstown, while the Hubs (7-6, 5-3) are tied for third place with Smithsburg.

North has lost two straight road games — to the rival Rebels in a game the Hubs were never competitive in, and then an upset loss at Brunswick. North also lost 49-41 to Catoctin in the teams’ first meeting on Dec. 21.

* Brunswick at Smithsburg, tonight — The Leopards (6-5, 5-3) were on a three-game slide with losses at Middletown, Catoctin and Boonsboro before Tuesday’s victory over Williamsport. Offense has been an issue the last five games, as Smithsburg has averaged just 40.6 points per contest.

As mentioned, the Railroaders (4-9, 4-5) are coming off an upset victory over North. The Leopards handled Brunswick 61-44 on Dec. 20, but this one could be closer.

* Broadfording vs. St. Maria Goretti, Saturday (at Goretti) and Monday (at Broadfording) — While the Gaels (13-5) will be significant favorites over the Lions (7-9) in both games, they offer the chance to see two of the top scorers in Washington County: Goretti’s Severija Narkute (16.0 per game) and Broadfording’s Katie Connolly (20.8 per game).

* Smithsburg at South Hagerstown, Monday — The Rebels (10-6, 7-2) have won four straight Antietam games — the latest a nailbiter in overtime against Boonsboro — to put themselves in good position to challenge for the title. They won a thriller against the Leopards 72-66 on Jan. 3, with five players scoring at least nine points.

If Smithsburg gets past Brunswick tonight, a win here would put the Leopards back in the thick of the league race — although they’d need Catoctin to stumble somewhere. Speaking of which ...

* Boonsboro at Catoctin, Monday — The Warriors (7-8, 4-5) may not be in contention for the Antietam title, but they should get the full attention of the teams that are. The Cougars will need no such warning, as their only league loss came to Boonsboro, 54-47, on Jan. 3.

The Warriors upset Smithsburg 45-42 a week ago and came very close to pulling off another upset before losing to South 52-49 in overtime Tuesday.

Boys Basketball

Two Washington County teams will travel to Gettysburg (Pa.) High School on Saturday for the annual Maryland-Pennsylvania Challenge, a day-long event featuring six games.

North Hagerstown will meet host Gettysburg in the final game at 7:30 p.m. Right before that, at 6, Highland View Academy will battle Biglerville.

Other games, beginning at noon, with Maryland schools listed first: Poolesville vs. Boiling Springs; Westminster vs. New Oxford; Hereford vs. Littlestown; and Frederick vs. Delone Catholic.

* Based on MVAL Antietam Conference results so far, it’s not likely any team is going to catch South Hagerstown unless the Rebels suddenly blow out four tires.

Heading into action tonight, the Rebels are 9-0 in conference play, while Smithsburg is 8-1 — its only loss a 22-pointer to South on Jan. 3. Smithsburg gets its shot for revenge Tuesday at home.

Not to look past anyone else, but three of the other opponents the Rebels have left in the conference — Williamsport, Clear Spring and Brunswick — are all at home.

* Clear Spring’s Nick Hill took a midseason siesta — scoring 18 points combined in three games — but has been hot in the five games since, averaging 20 points a contest. He is the leading scorer among Washington County players at 16.9 per game.

* St. Maria Goretti coaches will be wearing sneakers today and Saturday as part of the fight against cancer to support healthy living and the American Cancer Society.

“We look forward to participating in this great cause and joining forces with other coaches and schools across the country to raise awareness,” said Goretti boys coach Amrit Rayfield.

Students, faculty and staff also will wear sneakers today as part of the first annual “National Sneakers Day,” a new initiative by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Fans attending home games tonight and Saturday will have an opportunity to provide donations, which will go to the American Cancer Society.

Goretti’s boys host St. Frances Academy tonight. On Saturday, the boys and girls host Broadfording Christian Academy.

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

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