The Colonial Forge boys basketball team, whose members expected to learn a lot of hard lessons on the court this season as a first-year program, got an education of a different sort Wednesday when the Eagles played at Model Secondary School for the Deaf.
Colonial Forge Coach Mike Rosenbaum is a former coach at Gallaudet University, a school for hearing-impaired students that shares a campus with Model. Rosenbaum not only wanted his hearing players to have the experience of playing a deaf team, he wanted the two deaf players in his program, Tyrone Dyer and Al Brown, to acquaint themselves with the Northeast Washington school.
"The key to me was to get our hearing-impaired students involved in the deaf culture and see what Gallaudet is all about," Rosenbaum said of Dyer, a freshman, and Brown, a junior, called up to the varsity from the lower levels of the program just for the one game.
"They really enjoyed the experience. A lot of coaches don't have the patience to work with these kids if they're in a regular program. They don't get to play or they end up quitting."
The Eagles lost the game, 48-43, to fall to 0-3. Junior James Borella, a 6-foot-10 junior, scored 18 points, and freshman Brandon McKenney added 12. Rosenbaum, who also has coached at a deaf school in New York, said Colonial Forge and Model might try to play again next season, but probably not after that. Model has about 200 students, a fraction of Colonial Forge's growing enrollment.
Potomac Twins Are In
The Potomac girls got an unexpected boost this week when Prince William County Circuit Court Judge William D. Hamblen reversed a School Board decision that had barred twin sisters Heather and Jennifer Barany from competing for the Panthers basketball team.
The Baranys had been involved in a transfer eligibility dispute with the Virginia High School League and county school officials.
The versatile Baranys lend Potomac sorely needed depth and help make the Panthers an even more formidable challenger in the Cardinal District.
"It puts us deeper on the bench, and it allows us to be a lot more aggressive on defense," said Panthers Coach Mike Adkins, whose team has lost to William Fleming and beaten Sherando. "We don't have to worry as much about foul trouble. This adds a whole new dimension."
Jennifer Barany can play either forward spot, and Heather Barany can play either guard position or small forward.
The Baranys live in the Potomac district but received permission to attend Gar-Field, which they did as freshmen and sophomores. They played varsity basketball for the Indians both years. Last spring they requested a transfer to Potomac, citing transportation problems. The request was granted, but the girls later were told they would not be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities this school year because they did not meet the proper transfer criteria.
The family exhausted their appeals and received a preliminary injunction that allowed the girls to practice with the Potomac team. On Tuesday afternoon, Hamblen overturned the School Board's ruling. Hours later, the girls combined for 11 points in a 48-16 win over Sherando.
"I think it was the right decision, but I'm surprised it happened because to overturn a School Board decision, I've never heard of that before," said Adkins, who thought someone was playing a joke on him when he received a call around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday informing him the Baranys were eligible.
The Baranys had been practicing with the team but were receiving far fewer repetitions than the eligible players. When they officially joined the team they became the fourth set of sisters on the varsity, though sophomore Rayna Henry is likely to drop to the junior varsity team.
Potomac has increased its win total each of the past five seasons to a decade-high 13 last season. Interest in the program is up, too. Adkins, in his third year, said he made three player cuts his first season, six his second and 16 after tryouts last month.
Pairings were announced yesterday for the Kiwanis Holiday Classic, the annual boys basketball tournament involving several area schools.
The three-day tournament, this year a round-robin event, runs Dec. 27 to Dec. 29 at Osbourn, with games at 5, 7 and 9 each evening. Fans can purchase a $10 pass that is good for all nine games. A one night ticket is $5.
The first-round pairings are Marshall-Hylton, Osbourn Park-North Stafford and Seton-Osbourn.
Stonewall Jackson has played in the tournament in past years but opted this season to play last weekend in a Pennsylvania tournament, in which the Raiders split two games.
Evangel Christian senior guard Jeremy Levesque, who led Prince William area players in scoring last season at 21 points per game, will travel to Florida this month to practice with Clearwater Christian College, a school he is considering attending.