It’s still De­catur (and prob­a­bly won’t change)

Record Observer - - NEWS -

Now that we’ve reached that brief, not-quite-respite around Christ­mas from the con­stant ac­tion of high school boys’ basketball sea­son, it’s time for the power poll I said I’d write right around when Santa hooked up his sleigh.

To be hon­est, the top spot in the rank­ings prob­a­bly won’t change all sea­son. It’s Stephen De­catur, it’s been Stephen De­catur, and will likely re­main Stephen De­catur un­til mid-March.

Not only are the Sea­hawks rolling over just about all com­ers, they’re do­ing it by wide mar­gins. Yes, we’ve al­ready dis­cussed the team’s 59-point blowout of Cam­bridgeSouth Dorch­ester. But no men­tion was made of the team rout­ing Colonel Richard­son as well, and fol­low­ing it up by a 32-point de­feat of Po­comoke (a de­fend­ing state cham­pion), an 82-57 thump­ing of Cr­is­field, and a 78-36 crush­ing of Mardela High.

De­catur isn’t just winning out; the team, right now, is beat­ing peo­ple by an av­er­age score of 80-43. If you’re dou­bling up your op­po­nents, you’re hav­ing a good year.

Butch Waller, Wi­comico High’s head coach, put it best when I talked to him last week, when he said, “I don’t see any­body beat­ing De­catur out­side of the state tour­na­ment this year . ... Maybe they’ll lose in the Christ­mas tour­na­ment, but I don’t know. They’re play­ing a cou­ple of strong teams in that, so we’ll see. But I don’t see any­body in the Bay­side beat­ing them.”

Butch might un­der­es­ti­mate his own team a lot, but when he sees some­one good, he’s pretty straight­for­ward about it. And he sees a very good team in Ber­lin.

De­catur takes on Bishop Sul­li­van, a Catholic school from Vir­ginia Beach, Va., on Tues­day in the Gover­nors Chal­lenge tour­na­ment, and then Po­tomac on Thurs­day. These are two very good teams; Po­tomac’s sole loss so far is to a Cen­tral (D.C.) team that’s not only strong in its own right, but also 6-0; Sul­li­van is 6-4, but has a 34-game sched­ule that takes it up and down the East Coast to face some real pow­er­houses.

The Sea­hawks will have their work cut out for them this week in the Chal­lenge.

But the irony is, those games don’t count for play­off seed­ing, so un­less De­catur runs the ta­ble, they serve only as a barom­e­ter of just how truly strong the Sea­hawks are. Of course, that could be use­ful in­for­ma­tion in March.

Who rounds out the top five in the poll right now? I’d have to say no­body from the North Bay­side. I’ve just not seen any­one play at the level they played at last year so far, ex­cept per­haps Class 2A Eas­ton, but that was in just one

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Eas­ton’s Emily Grif­fith shoots over Saints Peter and Paul’s Jen­nifer Dou­glas dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter Tues­day evening at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege.

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