Panthers claim No. 1 spot; season officially ends with no state Final Four
by Derek Toney
Since March 12 when the state public basketball tournament was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was hope that the final event of the 2019-20 winter season would be played, albeit in the spring.
But as targeted dates (March 27 and April 27) to reopen state public schools passed, in addition to other restrictions, the likelihood of the state Final Four taking place became slim.
Tuesday, the MPSSAA, in conjunction with the state Department of Education, announced the cancellation of the state basketball tournament and the remainder of the spring athletic season.
The 2019-20 boys basketball season is officially over. Seven area squads – Atholton, Edmondson, Lake Clifton, New Town, Northeast, Parkville, and Poly – won’t get the chance to play at the University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center.
With the season closed, VSN presents our final Boys Basketball Top 20 poll.
For the second time in three seasons, St. Frances Academy is No. 1. The nationally-ranked Panthers won a third consecutive Baltimore Catholic League Tournament championship.
Poly, bidding for a fourth straight Class 3A state title, is No. 2. The Engineers, who were also nationally-ranked, went undefeated in Baltimore City league play for a third title in five seasons.
MIAA A Conference champ Mount St. Joseph, which held the No. 1 ranking with Poly and St. Frances during the season, finished No. 3. Lake Clifton and City College round out the Top 5.
Here is the final VSN Boys’ Basketball Top 20 for the 2019-20 season:
VSN BOYS BASKETBALL TOP 20 – FINAL POLL
1. ST. FRANCES ACADEMY (38-4)
Previous rank: #1
Season review: The Panthers won their third straight Baltimore Catholic League Tournament championship. The East Baltimore school finished No. 17 nationally by ESPN and MaxPreps.
2. POLY (24-2)
Previous rank: #2
Season review: The Engineers won their third Baltimore City league championship in five seasons. The Cold Spring Lane school only lost locally to No. 1 St. Frances, and was ranked nationally by MaxPreps (18th) and ESPN (No. 22).
3. MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH (29-6)
Previous rank: #3
Season review: The Gaels won their sixth MIAA A Conference championship. The Irvington school was the only team to defeat No. 1 and Baltimore Catholic League champ St. Frances (twice) locally.
4. LAKE CLIFTON (21-5)
Previous rank: #4
Season review: The Lakers reached the state semifinals for the third consecutive season. The East Baltimore school lost twice to Baltimore City champ Poly, and fell to Delaware’s No. 1 team, Sanford.
5. CITY COLLEGE (22-3)
Previous rank: #5
Season review: The Knights reached the Class 3A North Region I final, losing to Baltimore City champ Poly. The Alameda school’s only setbacks were to state semifinalists Poly (3A; twice) and Lake Clifton (1A).
6. NEW TOWN (25-2)
Previous rank: #6
Season review: The Titans won their second Baltimore County championship. The Owings Mills school’s only on-court loss came against eventual 1A state semifinalist Edmondson in its season opener (New Town forfeited another game)
7. EDMONDSON (21-4)
Previous rank: #7
Season review: The Red Storm reached the Class 1A state semifinals. The Baltimore City school handed eventual 2A state semifinalist and Baltimore County champ New Town its only on-court defeat.
8. LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD (19-12)
Previous rank: #8
Season review: The Dons reached the Baltimore Catholic League Tournament semifinals, losing to eventual champ St. Frances. The Towson school defeated every MIAA A Conference opponent except Mount St. Joseph, St. Frances and Gilman School.
9. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING (18-12)
Previous rank: #9
Season review: The Cavaliers reached the MIAA A Conference semifinals, losing to eventual champ Mount St. Joseph. The Anne Arundel County school defeated every MIAA A squad except No. 1 St. Frances and Glenelg Country School.
10. MERVO (15-6)
Previous rank: #10
Season review: The Mustangs reached the Class 4A North Region I final, losing to eventual state semifinalist Parkville. The Baltimore City school also lost to state 1A semifinalists Edmondson and Lake Clifton.
11. JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL (22-12)
Previous rank: #11
Season review: The Patriots reached the MIAA A Conference semifinals. The Bel Air school reached the Bullis School Holiday Classic finals.
12. PARKVILLE (21-3)
Previous rank: #12
Season review: The Knights reached their first state semifinal (4A) since 2008. The Putty Hill Avenue school lost to Baltimore County champ New Town and runner-up Woodlawn.
13. NORTHEAST (21-4)
Previous rank: #13
Season review: The Eagles reached their first state semifinal since 1983. The Pasadena school won the Anne Arundel County championship game for the first time.
14. GILMAN SCHOOL (17-10)
Previous rank: #14
Season review: The Greyhounds reached the MIAA A Conference playoffs for the second time. The Roland Park school lost to eventual champions Mount St. Joseph (MIAA A), St. Frances (Baltimore Catholic League) and Reservoir (Howard County).
15. WOODLAWN (19-5)
Previous rank: #15
Season review: The Warriors reached the Baltimore County final, losing to New Town. Woodlawn lost to three VSN Top 10 teams – New Town, City (3A North Region I final) and 1A state semifinalist Edmondson.
16. MOUNT CARMEL (17-13)
Previous rank: #16
Season review: The Cougars reached the Baltimore Catholic League Tournament semifinals. The Baltimore County school defeated Baltimore Catholic League tourney semifinalist Loyola, MIAA A semifinalist Spalding and MIAA B champ Archbishop Curley.
17. ATHOLTON (19-7)
Previous rank: #17
Season review: The Raiders reached their first state semifinal since 2009. The Columbia school defeated Howard County champ Reservoir twice.
18. ANNAPOLIS (21-5)
Previous rank: #18
Season review: The Panthers lost to Prince George’s County’s Henry A. Wise in the Class 4A state quarterfinals. Annapolis won the Anne Arundel County regular season championship before losing to Northeast in the Anne Arundel final.
19. RESERVOIR (19-5)
Previous rank: #19
Season review: The Gators won their first Howard County championship. The Fulton school lost to Atholton in the Class 3A East Region II final.
20. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (23-6)
Previous rank: #20
Season review: The Friars won their first MIAA B Conference championship since 2001. The Sinclair Lane school’s two league losses were by a total of 10 points.