Virginia Commonwealth had just secured a spot in the NCAA Final Four last Sunday when the phone rang.
It was Logan, calling from my college, Butler University, which will be VCU’s opponent in the national semifinals Saturday.
I don’t know Logan from Adam. His call wasn’t to whip up school spirit, but rather to help the school’s annual funding.
“As a graduate, wouldn’t you like to help Butler by making a financial pledge before the fiscal year closes?” Logan politely asked.
Talk about striking while the iron is hot.
“Didn’t I just donate?” I asked him.
“Well, yes, but your additional contribution can help Butler students enjoy the same college experience that you did,” he replied. Logan seemed to have an answer for everything; he’ll have a fine career in business when he graduates.
Butler was the Cinderella of last year’s NCAA tournament when the Bulldogs came within a fraction of an inch of hitting a buzzer-beating, half-court 3-pointer that would have made them the 2010 national champions instead of Duke.
Pride in the city of Indianapolis, and school, swelled and even though Butler lost last year’s final game, the President of the United States called the team afterward.
The 2010 trip to the Final Four was thought to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a small mid-major school, but someone forgot to explain that to the Bulldogs, who have won one exciting game after another in the tournament to reach this year’s national semifinals. (Check out the winning basket against Old Dominion, final three seconds of the game against Pittsburgh or the overtime win over Florida. Each was a heart-thumper, and don’t call Butler Cinderella anymore.)
As Logan and I spoke, I could almost hear the words to the school fight song:
“We’ll sing the Butler War song. We’ll give a fighting cry. We’ll fight the Butler battle –Bulldogs ever do or die. …In the end, I relented, although as a private joke I’ve sometimes substituted a word in the lyrics relating to the timing of Logan’s call: “We’ll ka-ching the Butler War song….
The check’s in the mail, Logan.
The Howard County girls basketball coaches met this week to make their all-county selections.
Oakland Mills junior guard Jasmine Hill was chosen Player of the Year. Glenelg coach Don Beall, whose team won the county and District V championship, was named Coach of the Year.
Named to the coaches’ teams were:
Sam Heisig, Glenelg, sophomore, guard
Kara Hight, Oakland Mills, junior, guard
Emily Russo, Glenelg, sophomore, guard
Bridgette Snyder, Atholton, senior, guard
Simone Wise, Howard, senior, guard
Kenitra Alston, Centennial, senior, guard
Joy Blackson, Mt. Hebron, senior, forward
Rakia Bryant, Reservoir, senior, forward
Alauna Jackson, Howard, junior, center
Kelly Jones, Mt. Hebron, junior, guard
Kayla Kelly, Centennial, senior, guard
Alexis Briscoe, Long Reach, junior, forward
Danielle Burris, Glenelg, junior, guard
Brittany Butler, Howard, junior, guard
Abbey DeFeo, River Hill, senior, guard
Rebecca Fath, Marriotts Ridge, senior, guard
Kiana Richards, Wilde Lake, senior, guard
Imani Sanders, Long Reach, freshman, guard
Emily Smoot, Reservoir, senior, guard/forward
Megan Sterling, River Hill, sophomore, guard
Brianna Taylor, Oakland Mills, senior, guard
Look for the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times girls all-county teams, story (and season-ending statistics) in the April 7 issue.
This Friday’s Oakland Mills at Howard girls basketball game, which starts at 7 p.m., is one of four games under consideration by WBFF Fox 45 to be videotaped as the High School Game of the Week.
Hereford at Dulaney (girls), Mount St. Joseph at St. Frances (boys) and Parkville at Patapsco (boys) are the other basketball games being considered.
Oakland Mills coach Seth Willingham is encouraging everyone to vote for his team at
If you check out the Fox 45 website you might also want to click on the girls basketball video for the Notre Dame Prep vs. Mount de Sales, a game played Jan. 21. Although neither team is from Howard County, many of the involved players are.
In a battle of undefeated Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference teams, Mount de Sales won, 52-49.
The game was close except for the third quarter when Mount de Sales took the lead and extended it to 14 points with five minutes left in the game.
Katie McKenna had 13 points, five steals and four rebounds for NDP. Teammate Sydney Tommins added nine points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. Both are Howard Countians.
There are eight Howard County girls on Mount de Sales’ roster, and all scored against NDP. Hannah Schmidt and Mary Kate Facchina (12 points each) led the way. Gabby Cha (10), Melissa Singer (four), Amanda Miller (four), Kara Hand (three), Allyson Curley and Lilli Robb (two each) followed.
Mount de Sales and NDP are in different divisions of the B Conference and won’t see each other again this year unless it is in playoffs.
Megan Schaaf and Julie Taylor are both still in college. Megan is a freshman at Presbyterian College and Julie a senior at Elon University, but they each have retirement parties planned for this week.
On Monday, when Mt. Hebron plays at home against Howard at 5:30 p.m., the Vikings plan to retire Megan’s No. 23 basketball jersey. She scored nearly 900 points in her four-year basketball career at Mt. Hebron.
On Wednesday, Atholton will retire Julie’s jersey (No. 40) when the Raiders play at home against Oakland Mills at 5:30. Julie graduated in 2007 as the Raiders’ all-time leading scorer (1,466) in girls basketball.
Julie is averaging 5.8 points a game coming off the bench for the Elon Phoenix. Megan is averaging 2 points a game for the Presbyterian Blue Hose.
Centennial had already cut down the basketball net last Friday night, but senior captain Julia Benjamin, and a couple of her teammates, climbed back up the stepladder to retrieve a segment of net twine still clinging to the rim.
That brought back memories.
I once owned an inch-long piece of net from a regional championship basketball game.
I grew up in a portion of the country that reveres high school boys basketball, and winning a regional title was a really big deal.
Benjamin was claiming a souvenir that she had much to do with. She scored a game-high 16 points as Centennial beat Mt. Hebron for its first regional title since 1997.
The piece of net that I had was earned by someone else and my snippet came from a friend of one of the boys on the team, but I could not have been more proud.
That fiber connected me with the championship team that I cheered for, a team that had achieved success.
To me, that net was an icon, and I carried it in my wallet. It was a reminder of a special time in my life.
A year or two later, my wallet was stolen. I was a college student and didn’t have much in the way of money, so it wasn’t a huge financial gain for the thief. Some family photos and my driver’s license were also lost, but what I have missed most, and what I remember most, is that little piece of net.
Andrew took his first job with the Howard County Times as an editorial assistant/obituary writer in 2001. He has written about an array of sports, from rugby to roller skate dancing. Andrew was a (mediocre) swimmer at Loyola College, but he enjoys playing many sports, including rec-league softball, kickball, basketball, football, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee. He would play rec-league unicycle badminton if he could find a league. He is a fan of all the Baltimore sports clubs, from the O’s to the Blast. When he’s not obsessing over the athletic endeavors of others, Andrew enjoys watching zombie movies from the 70s and 80s. He resides in Catonsville.