It has been a difficult 18 months for basketball in the MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League.  Although the on-court action has remained as competitive and exciting as always, the leagues have endured the loss of two great programs – Towson Catholic in the summer of 2009 and Cardinal Gibbons at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 school year.

John Carroll, which has emerged as an elite local basketball program and is already competing in the MIAA A Conference, has been admitted to the BCL for the upcoming season, becoming one of six schools with dual membership in the two leagues.  The others are Archbishop Spalding, Calvert Hall, Loyola Blakefield, Mount St. Joseph and St. Frances.  St. Maria Goretti of Hagerstown is the seventh team in the BCL, while McDonogh is the seventh team in the A Conference.

In addition, Mount Carmel, which remains in the MIAA B Conference for the coming 2010-2011 season, will play in this spring’s BCL Tournament.  The Cougars have also announced their intentions to move into the MIAA A and BCL full-time next year, which would bring both leagues to a full compliment of eight teams.

One program which has achieved great success in both leagues before struggling over the last few seasons, is looking to rebound and become a cornerstone in both conferences.

This week, Joe DiBlasi of sat down with Spalding head coach Derrick Lewis to talk about the two leagues and his program.

“It’s very early.  A lot of people in the area, if you ask them, say the Catholic League is down, but I think anytime you have coaches like Coach Clatchy (St. Joe), (John) Bauersfeld over at Calvert Hall and Mark Karcher (St. Frances), it’s going to be a tough league,” said Lewis.  “It won’t be any different this year and hopefully we’ll be able to move up a couple of spots.  That’s our goal.”

Lewis’ squad will be infused by four transfers from Gibbons, including twins Michael and Ryan Flynn, the sons of late Gibbons’ coach Bob Flynn, Eric Fisher and Chris Kemp.

“They (the transfers) will all make an immediate impact.  Last year we finished near the bottom of the conference.  We played hard, but we just didn’t have the talent to compete in the BCL and MIAA,” said Lewis.  “I think the guys are going to play hard.  There are going to be some changes.  People that played a lot last year, won’t play as much this year and it will be competitive.  That’s always a good problem.”

Lewis is also seeking to see improvement and leadership from his returning players.

To view our interview with Coach Lewis, click on the Related Videos link above.