We’re midway through the regular season and the BCL boasts three teams atop the standings holding one league loss, with Mt St Joe and St Maria Goretti standing at 6-1, and St Frances at 5-1. Mt St Joe lost at Goretti, Goretti lost at St Frances, and St Frances lost at home to Mt St Joe. The Panthers head to Hagerstown next Monday, while both the Mt St Joe-St Frances and Mt St Joe-St Maria Goretti rematches don’t come until the final week of the regular season. 

Mt St Joe won their eighth BCL tournament title in 20 seasons last year, but their first in five seasons after finishing two games behind St Frances in league play. Coach Pat Clatchey is in his 31st season in Irvington, and can pass former Annapolis coaching legend John Brady for fourth place on the Maryland high school boys basketball wins list with a win over Boys Latin on Tuesday night, with his 773rd victory.  Clatchey would only trail DeMatha’s Morgan Wootten, Wicomico’s Butch Waller, and Cokey Robertson, who spent the majority of coaching career as head coach at St Maria Goretti. 

Despite the loss of top ‘24 prospect Bryson Tucker to IMG FL over the summer, Clatchey’s Gaels have had an outstanding season, posting more than a half-dozen quality victories and an 18-3 overall record. Sunday, the Gaels registered one of those quality wins with a 54-48 win over North Laurel KY in the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. Junior Tyonne Farrell was named the Player of the Game after recording 19 points, four rebounds, and five assists. Senior Amani Hansberry added 14 points, ten rebounds, and five assists, and senior Ace Valentine provided 15 points and three assists. 

Hansberry is a 6’7 4-star forward who held more than a dozen ‘Power 5’ offers, including those from the likes of Oregon, Tennessee, Wake Forest, and LSU, before committing to Illinois. Hansberry is the only returning player in the league that was named to the All-BCL first team last season. Valentine, a senior point guard, has committed to UMBC, while his fellow senior backcourt partner Austin Abrams has committed to Stone Hill. Valentine and Abrams each scored 15 points to lead the Gaels in their win over St Frances. 

After a blowout loss to Paul VI in early December, the Gaels rebounded by advancing to the finals of the prestigious ‘Iolani Classic in Honolulu, taking the three victories, including one over the then top ranked team in the country, Monteverde FL, before falling in double-overtime to nationally ranked St John Neumann PA in the final. The Gaels followed that trip to Hawaii with two wins at the Governors Challenge in Delaware, topping Pittsburgh power Central Catholic PA, and St Stephens & St Agnes VA. The Gaels opened the calendar year with a rout of one of the 2A state favorites, New Town, followed by a 62-59 win at St Frances. Last week, the Gaels saw their six game winning streak snap after surrendering a late ten point lead in their 54-52 loss to Goretti. 

Goretti, too, has had a notable season, starting out with an 18-2 overall record, rebounding from a season where the Gaels finished sixth in league play with a 5-9 record. Coach Sydney McCray is in his fifth season as head coach of the Gaels, after taking over from their longtime leader, Cokey Robertson. The Gaels only two losses came to St John’s and St Frances, and boasts wins over Mercersburg Academy PA, Father Judge PA, New Town, Jefferson WV, and their signature victory over Mt St Joe. Sunday, the Gaels added another quality victory with a 51-47 win over Iona Prep NY in the Hoops for Harmony tournament in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. 

The Gaels have a solid nucleus, highlighted by 6’9 junior Caleb Embeya, a transfer from Patrick School in New Jersey. The Congo native is surrounded by a handful of talented seniors, including Dionte Alexander, Najeh Allen, and Justin Cheung, and junior Jarvis Wright. Alexander scored 19 points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out four assists in the Gaels win over Mt St Joe. In McCray’s first season, in ‘17-18, the Gaels went 27-7 and shared the regular season crown with St Frances. In the three seasons that followed, entering this season, the Gaels went 9-26 in league play, and 35-40 overall. 

St Frances took on a brutal early schedule, and their overall record of 12-7 paid for it. Still, the quality of competition the Panthers faced in December should serve them well over the second half of the season. The Panthers seemed to have persevered, overcoming a very sluggish start. The Panthers have won nine of ten games since starting the season at 4-6. The Panthers lost to teams from California, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Missouri in December, but did take the first meeting with St Maria Goretti, 71-63, handing the Gaels one of their only two defeats on the season. 

Over the holidays, the Panthers won both of their games at the Jordan Classic in the Bronx, with victories over Archbishop Ryan PA and the host, Cardinal Hayes NY. The Panthers five game victory run came to a halt with their 62-59 loss to St Joe. Sunday, following blowout wins over Boys Latin and Gilman, the Panthers routed Heritage Christian of California, 91-56, in the St James MLK Classic in Washington DC. Carlton Carrington, a 6’4, 4-star guard committed to Pittsburgh, set a tournament record by pouring in 42 points, adding seven assists and six rebounds. Maryland commit Jonathan Lomothe contributed ten points, nine rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the win. Coach Nick Myles is in his twelfth season as head coach at St Frances, and currently has a 324-102 overall record, including a 119-34 record in BCL play. Myles has led the Panthers to a share or outright regular season crown six times, and to three tournament titles. 

Both Spalding (8-8) and Mount Carmel (9-6) are 2-3 in BCL league play, while Loyola (8-4) is 1-3. Both Calvert Hall (12-8, 0-4) and John Carroll (5-12, 0-6) are winless in league play, but meet each other in Towson on Wednesday. With St Frances heading to Hagerstown next Monday, somebody is guaranteed a second league loss, if it doesn’t come sooner. The other two games between the three 1-loss teams wont come until the second week in February, and in turn, the regular season crown and corresponding seeds to the league tournament likely won’t be decided until the final week of the season. 


St Mary’s (12-6) has all but dominated league play thus far, winning all nine league games, and winning eight of nine by nine points or more, recording a overall +16.8 point differential in league play. Chapelgate Christian (13-4), St John’s Catholic Prep (6-8), and Friends (8-6), all have two league losses, and look to be the top contenders to the Saints. A week from Monday, St Marys hosts Chapelgate in their second meeting, following the Saints 64-54 win in early December.

Baltimore City

City College has rolled out to a 13-0 record to begin the season, the first time they’ve reached that total since going 27-0 and winning the 3A state championship in 2014, when the Knights finished ranked #18 in the country by USA Today. Coach Omarr Smith is in his fifth season as head coach at his alma mater, with the former All-Met boasting an 80-23 overall record. The Black Knights finished 20-3 in ‘19-20, before losing to three-time defending champion Poly in the regional final, then finished 20-3 again last season, after not having played a ‘20-21 season. Last season was a heartbreaker for the Black Knights, losing in double-overtime on the road to Huntingtown in the quarterfinals. 

This season, the Black Knights  are averaging 84.3 points per game, and outscoring opponents by an average of 42 points per game. The Knights handed Poly their only loss of the season in a comfortable 86-62 victory. Cam Horton, a 6’4 senior forward, leads the Knights, and was just one of three juniors named to the Baltimore Sun All-Met first team last season. Kwon Johnson, Trent Eboiremolen, and junior shooting guard Daniel Parsons bolster the Knights lineup. The Knights face their biggest test so far this season on Thursday when they host Edmondson.

Lake Clifton is out to a 9-2 start, and the Lakers and Edmondson look primed to be the favorites to meet in the 1A state championship game for a second year in a row. The Lakers topped the Red Storm, 50-46, at home, in week two of the season, and are likely to meet again sometime in the second week of March. Coach Herman Harried is seven wins away from his 500th victory at Lake Clifton, when he’ll become just the ninth public school boys coach to reach 500 wins. The Lakers face a stiff test on Saturday at the 25th annual Mayors Academy showcase when they face 11-1 Oxon Hill. 

Under Darnell Dantzler, Edmondson has always been in the thick of things, and this year is no different. The Red Storm have an 8-3 record, with losses to two out-of-state opponents – McKinley Tech DC and Potomac VA, and the four point loss to the Lakers. The Red Storm are headlined by Dantzler’s son, DJ, a sophomore. The Storm head to the ‘Castle on the Hill’ to take on undefeated City College on Thursday. Poly has rebounded from their first losing season in eight years by boasting a 9-1 record, including a 54-53 victory over defending state champion Lake Clifton. The Engineers only loss this season was to arch rival City, 86-62. 

Baltimore County

Parkville is on its ‘2023 Vengeance Tour’, after two heartbreaking endings following two outstanding seasons the last two years, and the Knights are holding the bag. The Knights are 12-0 for a second year in a row, a season after the Knights went 24-0, before losing to Huntingtown in the state quarterfinals last season. In 2020, the Knights earned just their second Final Four bid in 33 seasons, only to see the state semifinals and finals wiped out due to Covid. 

Coach Josh Czerski, in his sixth season at Parkville, won his 100th game with the Knights last week, and he’s led the program to a 58-4 record dating back to the ‘19-20 opener. Caron Smith leads the well-rounded Knights, surrounded by a handful of other contributors, including 6’5 senior Favor Okigweh and junior guard Josiah Legree. Smith is averaging better than 21 points per game, and the marksman has surpassed 50 three-pointers already this season. Smith scored 37 points, including nine three-pointers in the Knights 81-73 win over then 10-2 Dulaney. Okigweh was named to the prestigious Governors Challenge all-tournament team over the holidays. 

New Town looks poised to vie for the 2A state title, and are a favorite to advance to their eighth Final Four in 17 seasons. Coach Derek Wise’s Titans are 9-2, and are coming off a pair of impressive victories at the Hoops for Harmony tournament in Chambersburg this past weekend. Friday, the Titans put away then 10-0 Berlin Brothersvalley PA, 64-48, then followed that victory with a convincing 59-41 win over Aliquippa PA on Saturday. Senior Cam Sparrow spearheads the Titans. 

Dulaney is 10-3, with a pair of quality wins over Wilde Lake and Hereford, to go with the eight point loss to Parkville. The Lions feature 6’7 Patrick Wynne, a Salisbury recruit, and 6’3 senior Eric Zhang, their leading scorer. The Lions next big tests come in February, going to Pikesville on the 1st, and hosting New Town on the 8th. Pikesville is off to their best start in more than twenty years, with a 10-1 record at the halfway mark. The Panthers lost to LaPlata over the holidays, and hold victories over Century, Western Tech, and Dundalk. Hereford is 8-3, with their three defeats coming to Parkville, Dulaney, and 9-2 Fairmont Heights. The Bulls host Pikesville on Wednesday. Kenwood is 10-2, with a win over Aberdeen. 

Anne Arundel

Mike Glick has things clicking at Meade, a year after his Mustangs went 20-4 and advanced to the 4A Final Four, before falling to Churchill, 55-50, in the state semifinals. The Mustangs returned seven of their top nine players from that team, including leader Xavion Roberson, who was named to the All-Met second team last season. Roberson is averaging 16.7 points, 5.1 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game this season, and the Stangs only loss this season, came without Roberson, who missed the two holiday tournament games. Shawn Jones, a 6’6 senior, has been dominant inside for the Mustangs, averaging a team-leading 19.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. 

South River is 8-3, with quality wins over Broadneck and Eleanor Roosevelt. The Seahawks face Meade next Saturday. Broadneck is 9-4 and riding a six game winning streak. The Bruins still have games with South River and Meade. Northeast is 10-3, following a respectable 67-60 loss to Meade.  


What looked as recently as a week ago to be a two-way race in Howard County between Long Reach and Reservoir has turned into a six-way free-for-all in just a week. After starting 9-0, Long Reach has lost two of their last three games. Reservoir started 6-0, but has lost three of their five games in the calendar year. Wednesday, Long Reach bounced back from their first loss to River Hill with a resounding 64-43 over Reservoir in what was a battle for first place. But then Friday, the Lightning were knocked off by emerging Wilde Lake in overtime, pitting the Wildecats in a tie for first place with both the Lightning and Atholton, with each having two league losses. 

In addition to the 21 point victory over Reservoir, Long Reach has wins over 9-3 Broadneck and 10-3 Northeast. The Lightning are led by seniors Cam Valentine and Ethan Maokhamphiou, and 6’4 junior RJ Barnes. Wilde Lake lost their opener to River Hill by a point, but have wins over both Reservoir and Long Reach. Reservoir is led by senior point guard Zach Chin and 6’4 senior Irby Hunter. 

Atholton has faced a tough slate, including matchups with the two top ranked teams in the MPSSAA in Wise and Parkdale, and should be battle-tested come March. The Raiders are coming off of a 30 point win over Oakland Mills, who themselves are just a game back in the league standings at 5-3. The Scorpions handed arch rival Wilde Lake one of its two league losses. Dajuan Taylor, the Scorps 6’8 254 center, is averaging 18.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. River Hill is also 5-3 in league play, with wins over Wilde Lake and Long Reach, to go with a 53-52 loss to Marriotts Ridge on Friday.


Liberty has roared out to a 10-2 record and is unbeaten in league play in Carroll County. The Lions topped second place Manchester Valley, 67-57, in mid-December, and host third place Century on Tuesday in the first of their two meetings. Liberty has a chance to take hold of the county race this week, with the Lions heading to Manchester Valley on Friday. Man’ Valley’s only league loss was to Liberty, while the Mavericks overall record stands at 5-5. Century is 8-3 overall, with league losses to Man’ Valley and South Carroll. 


Aberdeen, CM Wright, and Havre de Grace lead the way in the UCBAC this season, with a three carrying one league loss. Aberdeen suffered their only league loss to CM Wright , 63-58, on their first game back from the holiday break. The Eagles have taken on a formidable schedule, taking on the likes of Calvert Hall, Dunbar, and Parkville, all resulting in losses, but the experience may prove to be beneficial down the road. Senior Tyler Bass is averaging 22.3 points per game, and has hit on 33 of 81 three-point attempts, at an impressive 41% clip. CM Wright has won five straight games after ending December on a three game skid, and stands 9-3. Havre de Grace, who lost to CM Wright by four points, travel to Aberdeen on Wednesday. 

Willie Sean Coughlan
Willie Sean Coughlan

HS Sports Analyst

Willie, a native of Chicago, and now a resident of Columbia for 40 years, is an educator at Homewood Center in Howard County, after spending 12 years as a real estate agent, following 10 years of running a small men’s retail company. Willie has contributed to Max Preps, Digital Sports, and Varsity Sports Network. Willie has produced MPSSAA top 25 rankings for both football and basketball for 15 years, across various platforms. From a large ‘sports family’, Willie’s brother Mike led Reservoir High to the 3A basketball state title game in 2018, while his nephew Anthony serves as the Indianapolis Colts College Scouting Coordinator.