The Old Mill boys' basketball team ventured outside the county for its summer league this year. The Patriots played in the competitive Falconers League at Riverdale Baptist in Upper Marlboro with a number of public school teams from Prince George's County, arguably the top basketball county in the state, and private school powers National Christian and host Riverdale Baptist.
"It's been a great learning experience," said Old Mill Coach Greg Smith. "Every game has been very competitive."
Not only have the Patriots learned -- they've succeeded. Old Mill finished second in its division with a 7-3 record and qualified for the playoffs. They played Douglass of Prince George's County in the first round on Tuesday night.
Two of the top players from last season -- Greg Phelps and Kevin Barnes -- graduated, but several players have filled in nicely. Andrew Engel, a 6-foot-1 rising junior, has handled many of the point guard responsibilities, especially with starter Alex Buchholz playing primarily baseball in the summer.
The biggest surprise, however, has been 5-11 rising senior guard Devin Jones. A backup last year, Jones has been a catalyst for the Patriots' summer success.
"He saw very little time last year, but he's been working his tail off, and it's paid off," Smith said.
"Devin kind of came out of nowhere. It doesn't surprise me, because he's a great kid. But his ball-handling has gotten better, and he's shooting the ball better."
Smith said Jones has calmly handled the pressure defenses played in the league. "He's not panicking in tight situations, and he's seen some in-your-face man-to-man defense that we won't see in the county," Smith said.
Three Make All-Star Team
Three county football players -- Darnell Dixon of Old Mill, Kyle Bloomfield of Broadneck and Alec Eaton of Meade -- were in Frostburg this week preparing for the Maryland High School Football All-Star Game Friday night at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.
All-stars from Maryland had played all-stars from Virginia from 1994-2002, but last year the Maryland Football Coaches Association decided on a game composed solely of in-state players.
The teams are divided basically by Interstate 95. The East team is composed of Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Kent, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Somerset, St. Mary's, Talbot and Wicomico counties as well as Baltimore City. All other counties play for the West.
Dixon, a wide receiver, caught 29 passes for 505 yards and 4 touchdowns last year. Eaton, a defensive lineman, had 55 tackles.
Bloomfield, a defensive back, led the county with seven interceptions while always matching up with the opponents' top receiver.
All three were impressive in the first day of camp, according to East Coach Mike Mayo (the head coach at C.H. Flowers of Prince George's County), though Bloomfield had to adjust to playing safety.
"He's doing a good job," Mayo said. "He kind of had to adjust to the speed -- there are a lot of fast kids. So the first practice was kind of an adjustment for him, but he came out for the second practice ready to go."
Dixon, Eaton and Bloomfield will try to get the East team its first victory in the series. The West won last year, 29-16.
World Lacrosse to Navy
The 2005 International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations (IFWLA) World Cup will be held at the Naval Academy from June 23 through July 2, 2005. It will be the first time since 1986 that the event will be played in the United States.
Navy's Glen Warner Soccer Facility and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will host the games, which will be played by a record 10 teams.