HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Four Teams That Benefited Over the Break

* La Plata boys: The Warriors split two games at the Aberdeen Holiday Invitational, losing 78-49 to Walbrook in the first round but rebounding with a 59-38 win over Christiana of Delaware in the tournament's consolation game. La Plata Coach Mike Meiser said he thought Christiana, which lost a close game to eventual champion Aberdeen in the first round, was actually the best team in the tournament.

"I don't think we're 20 points better than Christiana, but we were on that night," Meiser said. "This is definitely a big confidence boost for our conference schedule."

* McDonough girls: The Rams hosted a four-team invitational last week and almost pulled off a big upset. After beating Lackey, 40-19, in the first round, the Rams fell, 49-45, to undefeated Thomas Stone in the final. McDonough (3-4) led in the third quarter of the championship game and had a chance to tie the game with 3.6 seconds left. But Thomas Stone came up with a steal to seal the game.

"It's definitely a confidence boost to play with them," Rams Coach Brian Grainger said of Thomas Stone, which had beaten McDonough by 10 points earlier this season.

* St. Mary's Ryken girls: The Knights traveled to Spalding High in Severn for the Noel Holiday Classic, and left with their first win of the season, a 37-31 victory over Bishop McDivitt of Pennsylvania on Monday. The next day, Ryken (1-6, 0-2 in the SMAC) lost to Notre Dame Prep of Baltimore, 41-40. In the third-place game, Ryken fell, 46-37, to Pennsbury of Pennsylvania.

"We honestly believe we should have won the second game," Knights Coach Bill Mitchell said. "We missed a lot of shots in the fourth quarter, and we had our opportunities, but we just missed them."

* Thomas Stone boys: The Cougars won both their games at the Calvert Holiday Tournament, which gave six teams a chance to play two games each with no championship game. Thomas Stone (4-3) defeated Forestville, 64-53, and Lackey, 50-41.

"It helped us a lot, because we've had a big layoff," Coach Steve Datcher said. "We hadn't played in about 11 or 12 days before the tournament started."

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: TOP PERFORMERS

BOYS

* Mike Bahen, La Plata: Senior center had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Warriors' win over Christiana and eight points and four rebounds in a loss to Walbrook.

* Robert Naylor, Thomas Stone: Guard scored 21 points, including five three-pointers, in a 64-53 win over Forestville at the Calvert Holiday Tournament.

* Albert Rice, Northern: Senior guard had a combined 33 points and 13 rebounds in Northern's two losses, to Bowie and Patuxent, at the Northern Holiday Tournament.

* Joe Saunders, St. Mary's Ryken: In the Riverdale Baptist Holiday Tournament, the senior scored 18 points against Tech World, then 22 against Charles Hickey.

* Harshod Spells, Thomas Stone: Center had a combined 36 points and 36 rebounds in two wins in the Calvert Holiday Tournament.

GIRLS

* Lori Ashton, McDonough: Junior center had a combined 40 points and 27 rebounds in two games at the McDonough Rams Invitational and was named tournament MVP.

* Ashley Blandford, Thomas Stone: Sophomore guard scored 28 points in two games: 17 vs. Potomac (Md.) and 11 vs. McDonough.

* Necka Lancaster, La Plata: Senior guard scored 44 points in the Warriors' first two games in the Holiday Hoops Invitational.

* Ashley Magnani, St. Mary's Ryken: Had 10 points and nine rebounds in a win over Bishop McDivitt (Pa.). She also had 12 points and 12 rebounds in a loss to Pennsbury (Pa.).

* Jessica Ritchie, Chopticon: Senior guard scored 22 points against Walter Johnson and 17 against Leonardtown in the Southern Maryland Holiday Classic.

Tournament Notes

The Northern boys basketball team had a disappointing break, as the Patriots lost twice in their own tournament, the four-team Northern Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29 and 30.

The Patriots started well, forcing overtime against Bowie of Prince George's County. But Bowie ran away with the game in the extra period, closing out a 62-56 win. In the consolation game, Patuxent pulled away from Northern, 66-55. The Patriots had lost to Patuxent, 51-47, on Dec. 21.

Bowie defeated Southern, 59-49, in the tournament championship game. . . .

Great Mills's boys lost for the first time this season in the final of the Southern Maryland Holiday Classic at Leonardtown. Walter Johnson (4-4) ended the streak with a 56-44 victory.

Great Mills (5-1) had won in the semifinals despite scoring six fewer points against Leonardtown. The Hornets won, 38-19, as the Raiders deliberately slowed down the game.

Leonardtown didn't change its strategy in the consolation game, and this time it worked. The Raiders (2-4) edged Chopticon, 28-25. . . .

Point guard Tia Briscoe led the Chopticon girls to a third-place finish in the Southern Maryland Holiday Classic. The Braves defeated Leonardtown, 49-37, in the consolation game, with the steady Briscoe scoring eight points. She had 13 assists in the tournament. . . .

St. Mary's Ryken's boys (4-3) won two games at the Riverdale Baptist Holiday Tournament, defeating Tech World, 53-44, and Charles Hickey, 54-41.

CAPTION: Northern's David Morris, left, tries to fire a pass by Patuxent's Larry Rice. The Patriots lost both games in the Northern Holiday Tournament.

CAPTION: Patuxent's Anthony Baldwin, left, swats away a shot by Northern's Larry Hall during last week's tournament game. The Panthers registered their second straight victory over the Patriots, 66-55.