Mid-Shore preps for new hoops season
Bailey now at Cambridge-SD; Bulldogs hope for another extended playoff run
Marty Bailey’s last stint as a head basketball coach ended in March, 2015, when the Easton High boys’ program he played for from 1994-97, and coached for eight seasons, lost at Wicomico in the playoffs.
On Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m., Bailey gets his first shot at revenge against Wi-Hi, though he’ll be doing it with a new program.
In May, Bailey was announced as the new boys’ head coach of CambridgeSouth Dorchester, replacing Vic Burns, who ran the show for four seasons. The Vikings open their 2018-19 season at Wi-Hi, which is still led by Butch Waller, the winningest public school coach in state history and the man who knocked Bailey’s Warriors out in 2015.
For the Vikings’ new leader, though he’s only 20 miles or so from his roots in Talbot County, it’s a whole new world. The CambridgeEaston rivalry, which goes back in some sports more than 100 years, has seen its share of heated battles on the hardwood. Now, Bailey will see things from the other side of the Choptank River.
“I’m still learning a lot of their names,” Bailey said Nov. 27 after a practice. “Cambridge has always had athletes. But we’re putting in a whole new system, and ... we have no chemistry right now. We’re learning all over how to play with each other.”
Bailey said turnout was in the mid-30s. “We’ve got about 15 for varsity right now, and ... we’re down to 16 on jayvee. I’m hearing they usually don’t have a big turnout, but they showed up this year.”
Being with a smaller Class 1A team at C-SD changes much of the perspective for Bailey, too. Easton, a 2A, faces different opposition in the postseason than the Vikings. Some things, Bailey said, may remain the same in terms of which teams are the ones to beat. however.
“I’ve been out three years, but I’d I think it could be Kent (County) as the top 1A for the North,” Bailey said. “They’re getting a lot back. Overall... it could be Easton again. They’ve got their system in place, they’ve got experience, got a player, Lamont Powell, who transferred over to Saints Peter and Paul, coming back, I heard. They’ve got a good mix of returners and new guys.
“But, us? I told them yesterday, we’re not sure who we’re starting, we’ve got no clue,” Bailey added. “We’re gonna have to figure that out together.”
Easton, which won the division last winter but lost to WiHi by 49 points in the Bayside Conference championship in late February, hopes to go after another divisional crown.
The Warriors also want to advance beyond a first-round playoff game, where they lost by double digits last season to North Caroline, a team it had swept during the regular season.
Head coach Sobaye Scott, whose Kent County squad has earned three North Bayside crowns and a conference title in the last seven years, said, “I think Easton will be pretty good. They got a lot of returners.”
“We’ll be all right,” Scott said of his team. “It’s a rebuilding year. We lost a lot, but I’ve got a younger class . ... As long as they listen, we’ll be all right.”
Then there’s North Caroline.
The Bulldogs started slow last season, getting blown out on the road by Stephen Decatur, and suffered a few more regular-season stumbles during the 2017-18 campaign.
But once everyone got healthy, the ride became much smoother.
The Bulldogs won nine of their last 11 regular-season contests, and hit their stride as February ended, with double-digit playoff wins over Queen Anne’s County and Easton.
On the road against 22-0 Wi-Hi in the sectional final, North Caroline made history with a 78-66 win, Bulldog head coach Steve Perry’s first against Waller, to advance to the regional final. North Caroline won that, too, opening with a 15-2 run and eventually thumping Harford Tech, 8251 for the 2A East title.
Rolling over River Hill in the state semifinals, North Caroline led in the final against Lake Clifton for more than 24 of the game’s 32 minutes. But a late surge boosted the Lakers, who won 63-55 and denied the Bulldogs their first state title in 31 years.
Now without stars such as guard David Bailey, big man Ja’Mion Franklin, and point guard Joey Adams, who scored nearly 200 points in his team’s six-game playoff run, Perry must do a little rebuilding. But he doesn’t sound too worried.
“I’m gonna let everybody talk,” Perry said. “We’ll be OK. It might take some time.
“I guess everybody’s got Easton . ... We’ll see what happens,” Perry added. “We start off with a tough schedule. It’ll be a good test for my young kids.”
Kent Island, which contended for the North title two seasons ago but fell off last winter, and Queen Anne’s County, which changed head coaches twice in the offseason, the second time on Nov. 19, just 16 days before the season starts, are also hoping to contend. Kent County, a perennial threat to win the division for nearly a decade now, will also be in the mix.
It’ll be an extra-long grind this year, as the season, which usually lasts around 13 weeks, gets extended a week due to scheduling conflicts for the state tournament. The 2018-19 campaign, from opening night to the state finals, is 100 days in length.
“This is going to be the longest regular season in the history of the Bayside,” Colonel Richardson head coach Brad Plutschak said. “The state had issues getting both Towson (University) and University of Maryland available for the tournament, so they pushed everything back an extra week. We moved some games because of it, so I don’t think there are any threegame weeks this season at all . ... I know we moved some games from early in the year, to late February, because of it.”
The Gunston School hopes to build on an appearance in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference playoffs last year, the first, head coach Jim Meehan said in at least a decade.
Saints Peter and Paul, a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association squad which made the C conference championship two seasons ago, aspires to contend again.
Here’s how the Mid-Shore’s boys’ basketball teams look heading into the 2018-19 season, which starts for the public
North Caroline’s Kendron Wayman returns for the Bulldogs.