Last week’s basketball game between the Sparrows Point and Dundalk boys did not go quite as i expected.
Oh, I expected Sparrows Point to win — and it did, 62-52. The Pointers have been playing better than the Owls this season — and that’s a sentence I never thought I’d type — and i considered them the favorite against Dundalk (another sentence regarding boys basketball I never thought i’d type).
Here’s the last four scores by which Dundalk has beaten Sparrows Point: 78-39, 69-26, 76-33 and 95-44.
This season, however, the Pointers made two big additions: Ramon Villanueva (transfer) and Omar Reid (freshman). Dundalk not only lost most of its starters from last season, but was down three starters entering the Sparrows Point game.
When i learned Dundalk’s best player and leading scorer, Marcus Nicholson, would miss the Sparrows Point game due to still being under the concussion protocol, I expected the score to resemble one of those four earlier scores, only with the Pointers the winner.
And at halftime, with Sparrows Point leading 42-19, it certainly looked that way.
Credit to the Owls; they didn’t roll over, but hung in there and made it a two-possession game with 2:17 remaining before the rally petered out.
The Pointers, as coach Marcel Marshall said, may have gotten too comfortable. After all, they could see Nicholson sitting there in street clothes. And they had practically blown the Owls off the court in the second quarter and were sinking three’s.
And Sparrows Point did hold Dundalk to one point over that last 2:17 after it became a two-possession game (with the help of the Owls missing three foul shots, a problem that has plagued Dundalk all season).
But the Pointers have to do something about their rebounding. Despite being smaller, the Owls absolutely destroyed Sparrows Point on the boards.
Had Dundalk shot a little better under the basket, or had the Pointers not forced so many turnovers, the Owls may have pulled out this game.
As it was, it’s a big win for the Pointers over the team that has dominated local boys basketball for a long stretch.
The Pointers should win their final three regular-season games, which will put them in contention for the top seed in the Class 2A North Regional tournament.
There are a couple of teams called Dunbar and Patterson waiting for Sparrows Point in the regionals, and the Pointers will need every edge they can get. Home court would be a nice start.
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There was some question over just how long it had been since Sparrows Point beat Dundalk in boys basketball.
People with Sparrows Point thought the Pointers last win may have been when Will Marshall played at the school. That was in the early 1990s.
Former Dundalk coach Steve Oppenheim thought the Pointers may have snagged a win in the 2000s when the Owls went through a rough stretch.
As it turned out, Sparrows Point beat Dundalk in recent memory: 2012 (thanks to Joe Scalice of Sparrows Point for the info).
Dundalk won one game during the 2011-12 season (its rough stretch lasted a bit longer) and it wasn’t against Sparrows Point.
The host Pointers beat Dundalk 38-35. The score at halftime was 10-10 (which must be why I blanked the game from my own memory; Dundalk only scoring 10 points in a half must, after some time had passed, seemed like something I imagined).
Dundalk and Sparrows Point’s pages on MaxPreps have every score from the 20-12 season except for when they played each other. See? Even MaxPreps had trouble believing it.
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The Sparrows Point wrestling team has reached the Class 1A state duals finals the past three seasons, losing each time to a powerhouse from the western part of the state (Southern of Garrett County twice, and Middletown of Frederick County when it was still a Class 1A/2A tournament).
This year, the Pointers would likely be favored to win the Class 1A state duals title — but Sparrows Point is now in Class 2A, where they likely will face a monster in the form of Stephen Decatur, ranked third overall in the state and is the top-ranked public school.
In a twist, Stephen Decatur is right outside of Ocean City — making it from the extreme eastern part of Maryland.
It’s never easy.