Basketball: Weather closures create tough stretch for Anne Arundel County teams

January 6

The Arundel Wildcats and Washington Wizards will each play four games in five days this week, including three away from home. The difference is that John Wall won’t also have to find time to do his pre-calculus homework.

That will be the challenge for players from 17 boys’ and girls’ basketball teams in Anne Arundel County this week after snow and icy roads shut down schools around the area Friday. What was once a daunting week of three games in five days is now even more formidable, with games from last Friday and Saturday shifted to Tuesday.

“We’re going to be tired, physically and mentally,” Arundel junior Will O’Hara said. “We just need to hydrate, get a lot of sleep, get our work done early, go to the games, go home and go to bed. It’s going to take a toll on us, but you’ve just got to push through it.”

Playing four games in five days as a professional athlete is one thing, but for high school student-athletes with classes all day and homework due the next morning, such a stretch can be even more exhausting. Players have to not only stay well-rested and energized for each game but also mentally prepared to take on new opponents without practice time or film sessions in between.

“It’s almost like an NBA schedule,” Meade Coach Pete Corriero said. “I would’ve liked to have had a few practices in between, but I also feel that I have a pretty veteran group. They want to play. Guys would rather play than practice. . . . The biggest challenge is just making sure they’re ready to play.”

The Mustangs (6-2) have a senior-heavy team and will face three teams below .500 during the week. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Arundel (5-3), a younger team that will play at Old Mill, Annapolis and Severna Park and host Glen Burnie.

“The one thing is that everybody’s going to be in the same boat,” Arundel Coach Jeff Starr said. “All four teams we’re playing this week are also playing four [games], so no one really has an advantage as far as that’s concerned.”

As tiring as the week will be for some teams, it could be equally important in the county standings. Every team will play as many county games from Monday to Friday as they had played in the entire season up to that point.

“I’m going to look at it the positive way,” O’Hara said. “If we win the first game, get a little momentum going, get a couple wins on the road, that’s a huge game-changer for our place in the standings.”

Howard County takes four holiday titles

Howard County was well represented in holiday tournaments at the end of December as four boys’ and girls’ teams won their respective events while others had impressive showings against some of the area’s top teams.

The Howard girls (9-0) stayed unbeaten with wins over Liberty (Md.) and Indian Creek en route to the Howard Holiday Tournament Title, and Atholton (6-2) crushed Wilde Lake (3-6) to win the Robert Oxygen Holiday Classic.

On the boys’ side, Centennial (5-3) won the Liberty (Md.) Holiday Tournament while Long Reach (4-5) defeated a pair of Montgomery County opponents to win the CKA/Panther Holiday Tournament at Paint Branch. Oakland Mills also was able to hang tough in a one-point loss to Bowie, one of the tougher teams in Prince George’s County.

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