Flint Hill, the tiny private school that pleaded for a little recognition 10 years ago, is on the verge of breaking the record Washington-area basketball enthusiasts regard as almost untouchable. The Falcons, who tied Archbishop Carroll's 25-year-old streak of 55 consecutive victories with their win over Mackin on Sunday, can break the record tonight when they host Theodore Roosevelt (0-1) at George Mason's Physical Education Building at 8.

Flint Hill Coach Stu Vetter spoke matter-of-factly, and was almost apologetic when asked about his feelings about his team's trek into the record books.

"To be honest, I haven't given the streak a lot of thought. We go into each season trying to win as many games as we can. With the type of schedule we play, that record never entered our minds," said Vetter, who has a 274-51 record in 12 years at the school. "But if we break it, I just hope our players and the coaches can have the same impact on the Washington community as those guys on that Carroll team did. They all did well and had a very positive impact on the community. I would never have conceived we could go this far and have a chance to break the record. Should we break the record, we don't have anything special planned for {tonight}."

Vetter is bitter because he feels every time his team is mentioned, it is in connection with questions about recruiting. The private school in Oakton on occasion has asked players who have transferred in to repeat a grade, saying their academic preparation was not sufficient; some have charged that this is simply a way to get an extra year of play out of promising players.

"It seems every time someone writes about us, it's negative. No one ever says we've done a good job here, building a class program," said Vetter, who also acts as athletic director. "Our kids go a good job, both academically and athletically, and go on to do well in college. And our kids graduate from college. We are known throughout the country and people think highly of our program. In the past few years, we've had some very good kids here and good teams and haven't gotten the credit I felt we deserved. We do a number of positive things here."

ESPN thinks so highly of Flint Hill it plans to televise the Falcons' first-round tournament game of the Cotton Classic in Arkansas Dec. 28.

"That is a big plus for our school," Vetter said. "Also, we have a deal with Media General Cable, which plans to cover the majority of home games at George Mason. That is another thing people fail to mention, we play all of our games away. We have no home facility. The new school will have a 2,000-seat facility next year."

Flint Hill went into this season with a 51-game winning streak. The Falcons won their last five games of the 1983-84 season and went 23-0 each of the last two seasons. Some might recall the streak being broken after 25 straight wins. Oak Hill Academy edged Flint Hill, 58-57, in overtime, but the loss later was reversed because of an ineligible player.

The Falcons won't lose many games this season. Dennis Scott has taken his skills to Georgia Tech, but 6-foot-6 junior Arron Bain, 6-4 1/2 senior Ronny Thompson, 5-9 Reggie Chambers and 6-2 Leslie Hughes all started games last year. Brandon Adams, a 6-4 senior transfer from St. John's, is the fifth starter.

"I don't know how good this team will be yet, but they have talent," Vetter said. "We are a good defensive team and we're healthy. This year, we play a number of local teams; a lot of people want to play us."

And they all want to be the team that beat Flint Hill.