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Originally published March 19, 2003 BOYS PLAYER OF THE YEAR Laronja Owens Annapolis, senior In Owens' three years as a starter, the Panthers never lost a game to an Anne Arundel County opponent. With the 6-foot-1 and 190- pound Owens running the show, No. 5 Annapolis (23-2) went 50-0 against county foes in his career and were 72-5 overall. Also last season's county Player of the Year, Owens is considered to be one of the top three guards to ever play at Annapolis. Owens, who penetrates the lane with exceptional strength, creates and finishes inside and on the perimeter. In addition, Owens is relentless on defense. Averaging 22.4 points, Owens led the county in scoring. Owens scored 559 points to finish with 1,624 in his career, second highest in school history and fourth on the all-time county list. In his final game at Friendly in Prince George's County, the Panthers lost a 73-72 decision in overtime in the Class 3A East regional final despite a game-high 28 points by Owens. "Laronja made all the big plays and did everything he could for us to win, which is something he did for us for all three years, " said Annapolis coach John Brady. Owens, who never missed a game, averaged 21.1 points over his career to go with career totals of 5.5 assists and four rebounds per game. This season, he led the county in assists with 5.2 a game and contributed four rebounds a game. Owens also led his team in three-pointers (45). He plans to attend a junior college, likely one in Florida. BOYS FIRST TEAM Will Bowers Archbishop Spalding, senior Headed to the University of Maryland, the 7-foot Bowers averaged 13.5 points and six rebounds and had 76 blocked shots and 40 assists for the Baltimore Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference runner-up Cavaliers (26-7). Bowers scored 60 points in three tournament games, including 26 in a 49-48 loss to Mount St. Joseph in the BCL/ MIAA A Conference final. Named to all-tournament teams in the BCL and the Alhambra, Bowers scored 56 points in three games to lead the Cavaliers to a third-place finish in the Alhambra. He finished his career with 1,100 points. Rudy Gay Archbishop Spalding, junior Gay, a 6-foot-7 high-flying forward with a great touch inside or outside, was a fine addition to the Cavaliers. Transferring from Eastern Tech in Baltimore County, Gay led the Cavaliers in points (13.9), rebounds (7.1) and blocks (85). Named All-Catholic League in the regular season and tournament, Gay became the Cavaliers' go-to guy and is a Division I prospect. Maryland is at the top of his list of prospective schools. Adrian Gross Southern, senior Headed to Division I Coastal Carolina on a scholarship, the 6-foot-6 center was a force inside for the Class 2A South finalist Bulldogs (18-7) and is the first county player to go over the 1,000-mark in career points (1,243) and rebounds (1,036). Gross led the area in rebounds (14.6) and was among the leaders in both points (17.2) and assists (4.3). He also had 91 blocked shots and 56 steals. A three-year varsity starter, Gross also was a first-team selection last season. Mitch Guest Glen Burnie, junior Guest made four free throws in the final 28 seconds to help the Gophers to a 70-69 upset at Thomas Johnson in the Class 4A East regional final. The Gophers' go-to player can score from anywhere. Guest, a 5-foot-9 guard, had 23 points and five assists in his team's 67-63 overtime loss to Magruder in the 4A state semifinals. A second-team all-county pick last season, Guest, who has 847 career points, averaged 22.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and had 60 steals. Justin Holland Southern, senior Holland, a 6-foot-1 swingman, led the No. 15 Bulldogs (18-7) in scoring with 20.5 points a game, shooting 51 percent from the field and 83 percent at the line. He contributed in the backcourt and in the paint. Holland is quick with excellent basketball instincts and is a good leaper. Holland, who is headed to Laurinburg (N.C.) Prep, averaged 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, had 13 blocks and anchored Southern's press, making 66 steals. Joshua Johnson Annapolis, senior A three-year starter for the county champions and Class 3A East region runners-up, the 6-foot-6 center/ forward averaged 19.9 points, playing in all but one game for the No. 5 Panthers (23-2). Johnson used his strength, long arms and leaping ability to control the boards in nearly every game. Johnson averaged 12.6 rebounds, giving him 824 (11.2 average) for his career to go with 1,188 career points. Second team Name School Class Position Jesse Brooks Archbishop Spalding Junior Guard Kerwin Porter Chesapeake Soph. Guard Ray Williams Meade Senior Guard Matt Hall Southern Senior Forward Antonio Sherrod Glen Burnie Senior Forward Brandon Albert Glen Burnie Junior Center Jeff Postell St. Mary's Senior Center Note: BOYS COACH OF THE YEAR Mike Rudd Glen Burnie Thomas Johnson of Frederick was a heavy preseason favorite to repeat as Class 4A East region champions, but Rudd's Gophers pulled a 70-69 upset of the previously unbeaten Patriots. No. 10 Glen Burnie nearly made it to the 4A state final before falling, 67-63, to Montgomery County's Magruder in overtime. "Nobody expected us to win [at Thomas Johnson], but these kids believed they could after watching the film of T.J's regular-season win over Frederick," said Rudd, whose Gophers knocked off Frederick, 63-60, in the East semifinals. "The Magruder game was there for the taking, but I'm really proud of these 15 special kids." With just one returning starter in Mitch Guest and knowing that Thomas Johnson had rolled through Anne Arundel County foes in last year's regional, Rudd didn't expect to be on the sideline at the Comcast Center, site of the state final four. But there he was with seven bus loads of Glen Burnie fans. Rudd, who is 93-75 in seven seasons at his alma mater, led the Gophers to their first state semifinal since 1994, the fourth overall, and came close to playing in the school's first state final since 1961. Glen Burnie (19-6) had a five-point lead over Magruder with 1:41 left in regulation, but couldn't hold it. "It was really neat being there, and we would like to do it again," said Rudd, who will return his top two leading scorers next season in Guest (22.2) and Brandon Albert (10.2). "I can't wait to get started next year." Teams selected by Pat O'Malley after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches. Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
PLAYER OF THE YEAR Maurice Barksdale Dunbar, senior It's rare that the same two teams meet in the state finals two years in a row, but it happened with Dunbar and Pocomoke of the Eastern Shore in the Class 1A boys basketball tournament the past two seasons. Barksdale and the Poets lived with the memory of last season's 88-70 loss to Pocomoke and reveled in the chance to get even. Their chance for redemption was realized when both teams advanced to this year's final. For the second consecutive year, Barksdale scored 23 points in the state final, but this time he and his teammates came out on top, 72-55, for Dunbar's eighth state title in 10 championship-game appearances. The Poets' win ended Pocomoke's 38-game winning streak. Barksdale scored 10 in the last eight minutes of the Poets' victory, making six of seven free throws to return the Poets (25-2) to their traditional pedestal as state champion and The Sun's No. 1-ranked team. It was a typical performance by the Baltimore City/County Player of the Year. Barksdale, a 5-foot-10 guard, averaged 20.6 points, 7.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds. "He was our leader and the man we counted on," Dunbar coach Eric Lee said. "Maurice was steady." Barksdale scored 24 as the Poets handed No. 2 Randallstown its lone regular-season loss, 77-64. Several weeks later, the Poets ended defending 4A state champion Douglass' 46-game winning steak - third longest in area history behind Dunbar's stretches of 59 and 52 - 70-57. Barksdale led the way with a season-high 29 points. Barksdale, who qualifies academically to play Division I, is trying to decide among Baylor, Canisius, Central Connecticut, Drake, Northern Arizona and Youngstown State, Lee said. FIRST TEAM Rudy Gay Archbishop Spalding, junior Gay transferred from Eastern Tech and became the No. 6 Cavaliers' go-to player. The 6-foot-7 forward led the team in scoring (13.9), rebounds (7.1) and blocked shots (85). In his first game with Spalding (26-7), Gay scored 13 of his team-high 18 points in the second half to pace a 56-52 win over highly touted Archbishop Molloy of Briarwood, N.Y. Gay was named to the All- Baltimore Catholic League regular season and tournament teams and the All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference team. He had 33 points in a 76-65 win over St. Frances; 29 points, 10 rebounds in a 56-51 win at Eleanor Roosevelt in overtime; and 18 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots in a 61-54 win over Judge Memorial (Utah) for third place in the Alhambra tournament. Jermaine Bolden Douglass, junior When Northern High of Baltimore closed, Bolden transferred to Douglass and fit right in with the No. 7 Ducks (21-3). In his first game, Bolden scored 37 points as the Ducks opened with 67-66 victory over defending Washington champion, Spingarn in the Baltimore/D.C. Challenge. With seven seconds left, Bolden calmly hit a free throw for the margin of victory. Bolden, a slick, 5-foot-7 guard, averaged 17.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds for a team that maintained its status as a Baltimore City power despite significant losses to graduation. Bolden admirably filled a hole in the backcourt, helping the Ducks win their first 18 games to extend their winning streak to 46. Terrance Breaux Randallstown, senior A force inside for the No. 2 Rams (22-2), who reeled off their third consecutive Baltimore County championship and the Class 3A North region title, the 6-foot-4 forward was a huge contributor to the team's success. Breaux averaged 11.8 points and led the team in rebounds with 9.6 per game. His play in the paint enabled the Rams to knock off No. 7 Douglass, 73-70 in the Class 3A North region final. Breaux had 18 points and eight rebounds in the region final, and 17 points and nine rebounds in a 73-70 overtime loss to Chopticon of St. Mary's County in the 3A state semifinals. Breaux plans to play football at the University of Buffalo, but has not ruled out playing basketball in the future. Paul Frazier Mervo, senior A second-team All-Metro selection as a junior, the 6-foot-4 forward made the Mustangs go. Frazier led his team in scoring with 18.2 points a game and averaged 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. A two-time All-Baltimore City/ County selection, Frazier led the No. 8 Mustangs to a 19-6 record, including a 66-48 rout of Dunbar, which finished the season as the area's top-ranked team. He had 11 rebounds to go with eight points against the Poets. Frazier had 15 points and eight rebounds in a 49-47 win over No. 12 Walbrook in the Class 4A North region semifinals. Joshua Johnson Annapolis, senior A flashy left-hander who used his strength, long arms and leaping ability to dominate the boards and deliver basket-rattling dunks, Johnson was the top post player in Anne Arundel County for three years. He teamed up with guard Laronja Owens to give the No. 5 Panthers (23-2) a potent 1-2 punch. The 6-foot-6 Johnson averaged 19.9 points and 12.6 rebounds in enabling Annapolis to average a county-best 74 points a game. Johnson grabbed 824 rebounds in his career and had a career average of 11.2 per game. Many of his rebounds resulted in put-backs, as he amassed 1,188 career points. He had 24 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots in his last game, a 73-72 overtime loss at Friendly in the Class 3A East final. Johnson is undecided on a college. Tavon Nelson Lake Clifton, senior Nelson was the major reason the No. 4 Lakers (20-5) won their first Baltimore City championship since the 1994-95 season and their first Class 4A North region crown since 2001. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 11.9 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in addition to being a valuable leader. Nelson had 17 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers unseated defending champion Douglass, 52-49 in the Baltimore City final. He made a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left to clinch it. Nelson accumulated 35 points and 32 rebounds in three victories in the Class 4A North region playoffs, including 11 points and 10 rebounds in a 46-45 win over Mervo in the region final. He had a game-high 15 rebounds to go with nine points in the Lakers' 71-58 loss to eventual state champion Oxon Hill in a Class 4A state semifinal. Laronja Owens Annapolis, senior Owens, 6 feet 1, is an All-Metro guard and the Arundel County Player of the Year for a second straight season. Over three seasons, Owens has led the No. 5 Panthers (23-2) to 50 consecutive county wins - extending their county run to 76 - and the Panthers went 72-5 overall. Anne Arundel County's leading scorer (22.4 points per game), Owens amassed 1,624 career points, the second-highest total in school history and the fourth-highest all-time in the county. He also averaged 5.2 assists and four rebounds this season and led Annapolis with 45 three-pointers, giving him 127 in his career. Owens will likely attend a junior college in Florida. Levi Stukes Randallstown, senior Stukes was the premier player in Baltimore County over the past two seasons. A two-time All-Metro guard and two-time Baltimore County Player of the Year, Stukes has led the Rams to three straight Baltimore County titles and one Class 3A state championship. The 6-foot-2 Stukes averaged 24.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists for the No. 2 Rams (22-2) this season. Stukes, who scored over 1,500 points in his career, had a game-high 33 points in a 73-70 loss to St. Mary's County's Chopticon in the Class 3A state semifinals. It was his third game of 30 points or more this season. Stukes, an inside-outside threat, scored a season-high 37 in an 85-65 win over No. 15 Southern-Anne Arundel in the Wes Unseld Tournament. Will Thomas Mount St. Joseph, junior Thomas helped the Gaels win their first Baltimore Catholic League regular-season title in the 32-year history of the league. The No. 3 Gaels (29-5) also won their first BCL tournament title, beating defending champion Spalding, 49-48. Thomas, a lanky, 6-foot-7 center, won the Jerry Savage Player of the Year trophy and the John Plevyak Most Valuable Player Award in the BCL tournament, becoming the first underclassman to win the MVP award since Mark Karcher of St. Frances in 1996. Thomas, who was also named to the All-MIAA A Conference team, averaged 16.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. He had 21 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots in a 58-55 triumph over St. Frances. Thomas, who has been offered a scholarship to Xavier, totaled 28 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots in two wins over Spalding, the first time the Cavaliers have been swept in four years under coach Mike Glick. COACH OF THE YEAR Mike Rudd Glen Burnie Rudd's Gophers pulled off the shocker of the basketball season by winning the Class 4A East region at Thomas Johnson in Frederick, 70-69. Then, the Gophers nearly won their first state semifinal in 42 years before falling to Montgomery County's Magruder in overtime, 67-63. Glen Burnie, which came into the season with just one returning starter in second-team All-Metro guard Mitch Guest, finished 19-6 and ranked 10th. "Nobody expected us to do what we did this year," Rudd said. Thomas Johnson was 23-0 entering the Glen Burnie game, and Patriots coach Tom Dickman, the winningest public school coach in state history with 592 wins and seven state titles, was coaching his final home game before moving on to Hood College. The Gophers had edged Frederick, 63-60, in the region semifinals. "I was more nervous before [the Frederick game] because we had gotten that far in four of the last six years. We finally got the monkey off our backs," said Rudd, a Glen Burnie alumnus in his seventh season as head coach. Glen Burnie had last been to the state semifinals in 1994, when Rudd (93-75 career record) was an assistant coach. Second team Name School Class Position Will Bowers Arch. Spalding Senior Center Mitch Guest Glen Burnie Junior Guard Jack McClinton Calvert Hall Senior Guard Kyle O'Connor Mount St. Joseph Senior Guard Shawn Velazquez Mount Hebron Senior Guard Paris Carter Lake Clifton Junior Forward Keon Lattimore Mount St.Joseph Senior Forward Mike Popoko McDonogh Senior Forward Adrian Gross Southern-AA Senior Center Holden Plack McDonogh Senior Center Note: Teams selected by Pat O'Malley after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches. Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
By BOB HOUGH For The Capital When the rosters for the 15th annual Capital-Gazette Newspapers Senior All-Star Classic were announced a few weeks ago, Chesapeake and North coach Doug Sisson immediately proclaimed his squad the underdogs. Archbishop Spalding senior Dave Douglas and the rest of the North team proved you don't play the game on paper. Douglas, a role player and defensive specialist for Spalding, showed he can also be a force on the offensive end in leading the North to a 95-86 win against the South in front of 1,200 fans at Broadneck High School last night. Douglas scored eight of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter to earn North MVP honors as his team took control over the last six minutes of the game to give the North an 8-7 lead in the series. "We were the underdogs and that's what we pushed at practice last night (Monday) before the game," Sisson said. "I had other coaches looking at the rosters and calling me and teasing me. It's a role the kids really liked." If the North was the supposed underdog, it didn't play like it right from the beginning. The North jumped to an early 10-4 lead and Old Mill's Anthony Dailey (13 points, five rebounds) hit a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter for a 46-37 edge. The South cut into the lead and trailed by four points at halftime, 50-46. "We came out flashy and firing up 3s, when we should have been going inside to Adrian (Gross) and Josh Johnson," said South coach Calvin Vain of Annapolis Area Christian School. The South came out in the second half and looked like it was getting ready to take over. South MVP Josh Johnson of Annapolis gave his team its first lead two minutes into the third quarter at 52-50. Matt Hall followed with a bucket to cap an 11-0 run that spanned the second and third quarters and the South was up by four. After the teams traded the lead, the South ended the third quarter with a 68-66 edge, and everyone seemed to be waiting for it to pull away. Southern's Justin Holland (11 points, four rebounds) opened the fourth period with a pair of free throws to push the South lead to four, but the North just would not go away. North County's Dave Bafford hit a pair of 3-pointers over a three-minute span to keep the North within striking distance. The South took its last lead at 76-74 on a layup by Adrian Gross (12 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) with just over seven minutes left. Glen Burnie's Tony Sherrod (17 points, six rebounds, three steals) tied the game, then Old Mill's Delray Eldridge (eight points, five rebounds) and Douglas had consecutive dunks to push the lead to four. Douglas would get two more steals in the quarter to help fend off any thought of a South comeback. Douglas sealed his MVP award with a pair of layups just before the two-minute mark and began putting a dribbling exhibition as the North was preserving the lead. He finished with nine rebounds and six steals in winning the North MVP. "I just tried to come out and have a lot of fun. I was playing against a lot of people I haven't played against all year," Douglas said. Meade's Ray Williams helped the North build the lead in the first half and finished with 12 points, five rebounds and four steals. Spalding's Gus Durr Jr. added 10 points and four steals for the winning North squad. Johnson scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds. He scored eight of his points in the second half as the South tried to gain control. "It took me by surprise. I was going after the boards, which was my thing during the season, so I figured I should do it out here," Johnson said. St. Mary's Jeff Postell and Southern's Adrian Gross also had 12 points apiece. Postell grabbed 11 boards while Gross had 10. Gross' Southern teammates Justin Holland and Matt Hall each added 11 points, and St. Mary's Marcus Perry pitched in with 10 for the South. For Vain, the South team coach, last night's game was a fun way to end the season. "At this point in my life, I wasn't sure if this was going to be my last game. If I don't coach another game, this will be a nice way to end it," he said. For Chesapeake coach Doug Sisson, last night's win sure beats the way most coaches end the season. "I've never ended the season with a win; this was something different," he said. Before the game, Camille Weefur, a second-grader at North Glen Elementary School in Glen Burnie, got the festivities started with a stirring rendition of the national anthem. South 25 21 22 18 _86 North 31 19 16 29 _95South (86) Johnson 5 2-6 12, Gibson 1 0-0 2, Postell 6 0-2 12, Boyd 3(1) 0-0 7, Perry 4(2) 0-0 10, Crowther-Washburn 1 0-0 2, Snowden 0 0-2 0, Gross 5 2-2 12, Hall 4(1) 2-4 11, Holland 3 5-5 11, Jackson 2 0-0 4, Hutchins 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 36(4) 10-21 86. North (95) Williams 6 0-2 12, Eldridge 3(1) 1-2 8, Durr 4(2) 0-0 10, Dailey 5(2) 1-3 13, Sherrod 7 3-4 17, Mason 0 2-2 2, Bafford 3(3) 1-2 10, Douglas 8 1-4 17, Lutz 0 0-0 0, Tewell 0 0-2 0, Jones 2 0-0 4, Johnson 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 39(8) 9-21 95. Published March 19, 2003, The Capital, Annapolis, Md. Copyright © 2003 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
THE BOYS' TOP 20 _____Boys' Basketball_____ Monday, March 10, 2003; Page D10 1. Montrose Christian (20-1) Last: 1 Linas Kleiza: 9 of 13 FGs, 13 rebs. against Towson Catholic. Season complete 2. Friendly (23-1) 2 Averaging area-best 84 points per game. Thu.: at Blake, 3 3. Oxon Hill (20-3) 4 First Maryland 4A tournament since winning in 2000. Thu.: at Lake Clifton, 9 4. Gonzaga (27-5) 5 Captured first City Title with victory over Dunbar. Season complete 5. Magruder (21-3) 9 Captured third straight Maryland 4A West Region title. Thu.: at Glen Burnie, 7 6. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING (24-6) 6 Lost to Mount St. Joseph's in MIAA Conference A final. Next: Alhambra Tournament 7. South Lakes (25-5) 17 Def. Heritage, 67-55, to advance to AAA semifinals. Fri.: vs. George Wythe, 7 8. Dunbar (23-6) 7 Lost to Gonzaga in City Title Game. Season complete 9. Thomas Johnson (23-1) 3 Upended by Glen Burnie in Maryland 4A East final. Season complete 10. Paul VI Catholic (22-7) 10 Lost to Gonzaga in WCAC final. Season complete 11. Glen Burnie (19-5) NR In Maryland tournament for first time since 1994. Thu.: vs. Magruder, 7 12. Chopticon (19-2) 18 Second consecutive appearance in Md. 3A tournament. Thu.: vs. Randallstown, 5 13. Blake (20-4) NR Fourth-year varsity team making first state tour. appearance. Thu.: vs. Friendly, 3 14. Herndon (24-4) 11 Ended season with two straight losses. Season complete 15. Notre Dame (23-6) 20 Captured Beltway League championship. Season complete 16. O'Connell (22-5) 16 Lost to DeMatha in WCAC quarterfinal. Season complete 17. Annapolis (23-2) 17 Lost in Md. 3A East Region final for second straight season. Season complete 18. Suitland (16-6) 8 Lost in Maryland 4A quarterfinals for second straight season. Season complete 19. Potomac School (22-4) 19 Va. Independent School Div. II champion. Season complete 20. T.C. Williams (22-6) 12 Lost to South Lakes, 64-58. Season complete © 2003 The Washington Post Company
Prep polls Through March 16 events Originally published March 18, 2003 Boys basketball Final top 20 1. Dunbar 25-2 2. Randallstown 22-2 3. Mount St. Joseph 29-5 4. Lake Clifton 20-5 5. Annapolis 23-2 6. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 26-7 7. Douglass 21-3 8. Mervo 19-6 9. McDonogh 25-5 10. Glen Burnie 19-6 11. St. Frances 20-7 12. Walbrook 16-8 13. Mount Hebron 18-4 14. River Hill 19-4 15. Southern-AA 18-7 16. Long Reach 19-5 17. St. Mary's 24-7 18. St. Paul's 22-5 19. Cardinal Gibbons 17-11 20. Southern-B 14-9 Other teams considered: Woodlawn (14-7), Aberdeen (15-7), Atholton (14-8), Old Mill (15-8), Joppatowne (16-5), Severn (17-10)