Sea­hawks, Tro­jans top first poll of new hoops sea­son

Worces­ter County’s three schools all in top third of Bay­side rank­ings

Times-Record - - News - DAVID INSLEY

“Yes, just 13 points. One-three.”

I can’t count how many peo­ple have asked me since Dec. 6 if the 72-13 fi­nal of the boys’ bas­ket­ball game be­tween Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester and Stephen Decatur that night was cor­rect, or some hor­ri­ble typo.

That was the score. It’s a record low in the his­tory of C-SD boys’ hoops.

Decatur’s loaded, and C-SD... isn’t. With 6-footand-a-lot-more cen­ter Keve Aluma clog­ging the lane, and a strong back­court and bench, the Sea­hawks are primed for a nice run like last sea­son be­fore it ended in heart­break at the Class 3A state cham­pi­onship game, which they lost on a last-minute steal and layup by C. Mil­ton Wright.

While Decatur got back a lot, the Vik­ings grad­u­ated three of their five starters, Dre’ Greene, Michael Richard­son, and Ivan Tay­lor. A fourth, ju­nior point guard Naail Thomp­son, is now play­ing for Saints Peter and Paul, the first in­stance I can think of when a C-SD boys’ bas­ket­ball player got lured away to play for a pri­vate school in Tal­bot County.

The Vik­ings’ lone re­turn­ing starter, Koby Jones, went down hard the pre­vi­ous night and re-in­jured an al­ready hurt right leg (he’s a foot­ball player, too; I helped coach him in Pop Warner back in 2007). So, with Jones un­avail­able, the Vik­ings had their work cut out on the road against a Decatur team many pick as the fa­vorite to take the Bay­side Con­fer­ence crown ... and pos­si­bly in girls’ hoops as well.

So, in case you were cu­ri­ous, yes, this is my first power poll of the new hoops sea­son, and yes, also, I’m putting Decatur at the top. C-SD, while 2-1, picked up those two wins against teams from schools whose com­bined en­roll­ment is less than half its own, Sal­is­bury School and St. Michaels.

The Vik­ings will play bet­ter than last Tues­day. Ev­ery­one has an aw­ful game from time to time. But if any game serves as a sig­nal mo­ment so far this sea­son, it was Decatur’s opener.

Hav­ing al­ready seen six of the Bay­side’s 18 boys’ teams, I think the North may be in for a rough go against the South. Not count­ing C-SD’s game on Dec. 5 against Sal­is­bury School, the North only man­aged one win over the South on open­ing night last week, when Queen Anne’s County blew out Mardela.

Mardela, by the way, is the only 1A team in the South never to have won the di­vi­sion in boys’ bas­ket­ball. Parkside, a 2A about to go up to 3A next school year, is the South’s only big school never to win the di­vi­sion.

Where does the rest of the con­fer­ence rank? Well, right now, with only about four teams seem­ing to have their heads on right, it looks like Worces­ter County con­trols the tempo, much as it did last sea­son, when Po­comoke won the 1A state ti­tle, its only reg­u­lar-sea­son loss com­ing against Decatur.

Snow Hill, which was bad a cou­ple of sea­sons ago, is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a re­birth un­der head coach By­ron Arenella, who had the un­en­vi­able task of tak­ing over the pro­gram in the win­ter of 2010 when long­time, leg­endary coach Allen Miller died sud­denly in

Septem­ber of that year. The Ea­gles are 2-0, hav­ing beaten Parkside on Thurs­day.

Up North, I’m stick­ing with my pre­sea­son pre­dic­tion that Kent County is the top team. How­ever, an­other per­for­mance like open­ing night at Wi­comico, in which “we were just out of con­trol, and we didn’t play at all like a team,” as head coach Sobaye Scott put it, could jeop­ar­dize the Tro­jans’ lofty po­si­tion at the top.

Queen Anne’s, my orig­i­nal pick for No. 2 in the North, fell from that po­si­tion on Thurs­day with a loss at home against Eas­ton. The Lions also lost, for a week or two, the ser­vices of big in­sider Mike D’An­gelo to a sprained an­kle. It was a real bum­mer Satur­day see­ing him on crutches at the East­ern Shore Bowl, the an­nual Bay­side se­nior foot­ball all­star game. (Get well soon, Mike, and Koby, too, while we’re at it.)

The Lions visit C-SD tonight at 6:30 p.m., and this game will de­ter­mine a lit­tle about both, but not a lot. As in foot­ball, I’d have to pick Queen Anne’s to win right now.

Wi­comico, with­out any se­niors, but with Butch Waller at the helm for his 13th straight “fi­nal sea­son” (that’s been a long-run­ning joke be­tween my­self and Paul But­ler, who used to do sports but is now news an­chor for WBOC-TV in Sal­is­bury), would prob­a­bly be the dark horse can­di­date in the South. Al­ways dan­ger­ous in the play­offs, WiHi has Waller’s 51 years of ex­pe­ri­ence and nearly 800 coach­ing wins to fall back on if things get tough.

Kent Is­land, which showed some pop in the first half but, heck, I don’t know what hap­pened in the fourth quar­ter last week at Parkside, is in the mid­dle of the pack right now. That be­ing said, be warned: if the Buc­ca­neers play to­gether, they’re go­ing to be trou­ble. Big trou­ble. They have all the pieces. Once the thing is put to­gether, it’ll be hard to take apart again.

Cr­is­field, which topped Eas­ton open­ing night and rolled over Mardela on Thurs­day, has some po­ten­tial, and the per­son who runs the team’s Twit­ter ac­count keeps try­ing to bribe me with food to come see them. I might take them up on that; late coach Phil Ray­field and I had a stand­ing agree­ment that, if I called ahead, he’d have a crab cake sand­wich wait­ing for me.

I’ll add here that he did that when crabs were out of

sea­son. While of­fi­cially, crab­bing sea­son in the Ch­e­sa­peake ends Dec. 15, by then no wa­ter­men are shak­ing pots or pulling trots. Al­most all have been tong­ing for oys­ters since mid-Oc­to­ber.

We’ll keep it brief this week, since no team has played more than three games. We’ll check in again around the new year, af­ter the Christ­mas tour­na­ments, and see where things fall.

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