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Maryland high school basketball: Players to watch, latest news

Pat Clatchey surpasses 800 wins; he is third in Maryland coaching history; Investigation underway at Severna Park; boys and girls Players to Watch in 2023-24
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Melanie Clatchey gives the same answer whenever asked if her husband played basketball at Mount St. Joseph.

“He was a bench warmer,” Melanie says.

Pat Clatchey didn’t have a distinguished playing career, but he’s synonymous with the Baltimore City private school. Clatchey reached a coaching milestone last week with his 800th career victory.

"I have been fortunate to coach a lot of young men, and teams, who believed in me,” said Clatchey, who graduated from Mount St. Joseph in 1980. “Eight-hundred wins is a Mount Saint Joseph accomplishment."

Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey gives instructions during a timeout in Monday’s game against Mount Carmel. Clatchey became the third coach in Maryland high school boys basketball history to win 800 games.

Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey gives instructions during a timeout in Monday’s game against Mount Carmel. Clatchey became the third coach in Maryland high school boys basketball history to win 800 games.

Clatchey played basketball for Mount St. Joseph as a freshmen and sophomore. At 20 years old, he was coaching the Gaels’ freshman squad. After a brief stint as a pro scout and an assistant at UMBC, Clatchey returned to the Southwest Baltimore school in 1992 to lead the Mount St. Joseph varsity.

The Gaels won the Baltimore Catholic League Tournament title in 2003, the first of nine under Clatchey. He’s won nine BCL regular season championships and seven Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A titles.

Clatchey, who reached 803 with an overtime victory over Mount Carmel Monday, sits third all-time in Maryland high school basketball history behind legendary DeMatha coach and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Morgan Wootten (1,274) and Wicomico’s Butch Waller (905).

Not bad for a “bench warmer.”

Investigation at Severna Park

An internal investigation at Severna Park High is underway after Severna Park students started a “culturally demeaning and degrading” chant during last Friday’s boys basketball contest against Arundel, the Severna Park principal wrote in a letter to parents.

Severna Park principal Lindsay Abruzzo addressed the school during morning announcements Monday and attended Arundel’s basketball practice to apologize to the team, according to the letter.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Bob Mosier said to the Annapolis Capital the district would not repeat what was said in the chant.

Abruzzo wrote, “I emphasize that the issue is one WE must solve together. Schools can play a part, but I need the help of this community to eradicate this kind of behavior from our school.”

According to the letter, an Arundel player was awarded foul shots during the second half of Friday’s game, won by Arundel, 67-50.

As he took position at the free-throw line, some spectators in the Severna Park student section began the chant.

A couple of students were pulled aside by school staff and given a message to pass on to others that the chant wasn’t appropriate, said Arundel High principal Gina Davenport, who was in attendance.

She said the chant was directed at black players.

“While the remarks on Friday may have been subtle in comparison to other more explicit statements, it was still a micro-aggression that was centered in bias to a culture,” Davenport said to The Capital.

Davenport said Abruzzo’s apology was “sincere,” and received well by the Arundel basketball players.

“Unfortunately, for some students, the comments that were made Friday have become normal; apologies [are] less normal,” Davenport said. “Hopefully, over time, we can change that.”

Severna Park’s investigation has identified nine students who were involved in the chant. The administration is “handling those cases appropriately and administering consequences in accordance with our Code of Student Conduct,” Abruzzo stated in the letter.

Punishments could include suspensions from games for players, and removal from games or season-long, county-wide bans for student fans as well as school suspensions or expulsions for repeat offenders, depending on the severity of the findings, according to the conduct code.

Interviews are still ongoing, and additional students found to have any level of involvement will be punished, according to the letter.

“I want everyone to understand that this type of behavior will not be tolerated at any level,” Abruzzo wrote. “I have instructed our administrators and athletics staff that should this type of behavior occur again, the contest in progress will be stopped and all students will be removed from the gym before the contest will resume.”

Maryland high school basketball Players to Watch in 2023-24

The basketball season is underway for public and private schools in Maryland. Here’s a look at the best girls and boys players for the 2023-24 campaign.


Autumn Fleary, McDonogh: Fleary was an impact performer as a freshman last season, leading McDonogh to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) A Conference and the top-ranking in the Baltimore metro region. The 5-foot-7 point guard led the Owings Mills (Md.) private power in scoring (15 points per game), assists (3) and steals (3) last season.

Myah Hazelton, Sparrows Point: Hazelton is an elite defender with her long 6-foot-4 frame and ability to alter shots. Hazelton recently signed with Virginia Tech University, coming off a Final Four appearance this past March.

Madisen McDaniel, Bishop McNamara: The state’s top player and the country’s No. 12 prospect in the Class of 2024 in ESPN’s Top 100, the 5-foot-9 point guard averaged 18.6 points, 5.4 assists and 5.2 steals last season. McDaniel recently signed with the University of South Carolina.

Ava McKennie, McDonogh: The University of Maryland signee is one of the state’s most versatile players. The 6-foot-2 senior averaged 8.5 points, 8 rebounds and 2.9 steals last season.

Kennedy Umeh, McDonogh: Umeh, 6-foot-3, is the state’s premier post performer and a Top 30 national recruit in the Class of 2024. Bound to Stanford, Umeh averaged 13.8 points and 8.5 rebounds for the IAAM A champ Eagles last season.


Ty Bevins, Gwynn Park: Bevins, a 6-foot-5 guard, is arguably the top senior in the public ranks, averaging 12.6 points and 2.4 assists as a junior last season. He signed a scholarship letter to George Washington University last month.

Caden Diggs, Bullis: Athletic and versatile, the 6-foot-7 Diggs helped Bullis to the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) championship last season. The senior wing will play for Old Dominion next year.

Tyonne Farrell, Mount Saint Joseph: Farrell, a high-energy 6-foot-6 forward, posted 14 points and six rebounds last season for the Baltimore Catholic League champion Gaels, who tied the state record for wins (38). The senior recently signed a scholarship letter to Rhode Island.

Malcolm Thomas, DeMatha: Bound to Villanova, the 6-foot-8 forward/center led DeMatha in scoring (11.6) last season with 4.7 blocks. Thomas’ dad, Etan, was a standout at Syracuse in the late 1990s and played nine seasons in the NBA.

Cam Ward, Largo: One of the nation’s top juniors, Ward, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 25.4 points and 12 rebounds last season, helping Largo to the Class 2A state championship game. Ward, who plays for his dad (Robert) and mother (Ayana) is Largo’s athletic director and girls’ basketball coach, has Michigan State and Texas among more than two dozen early scholarship offers.