Mid-Shore preps for new hoops sea­son

Bai­ley now at Cam­bridge-SD; Bull­dogs hope for another ex­tended play­off run

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID INSLEY dins­[email protected]­dem.com

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

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line’s Ken­dron Way­man re­turns for the Bull­dogs.

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