Gaithersburg senior guard Anthony Tarke and River Hill senior forward Charlie Thomas IV crossed paths for the first time during Saturday’s second annual Maryland Crab Ball Classic.
Tarke finished with four points and six rebounds in 13 minutes of action while Thomas scored seven points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in Baltimore’s 113-108 win over the Washington squad.
During the regular season, both players led their respective teams in scoring. In fact, Tarke, who averaged 26.3 points per game, was Montgomery County’s leading scorer while Thomas, who compiled a 23.3 points per game scoring average, was tops in Howard County.
Late in Saturday’s game, the 6-foot-5 Tarke had his shot blocked inside the paint by the 6-foot-7 Thomas.
“He’s a tough player,” said Tarke, “and he has a body for a high major D1 athlete.”
Back in the 1980’s, Thomas’s father was a standout at Seneca Valley in Germantown where he was teammates with Tarke’s head coach at Gaithersburg, Tom Sheahin.
Charlie Thomas III is widely considered to be among the top public school basketball players to ever come out of Montgomery County.
“Charlie Thomas is Seneca Valley royalty,” Hootie and the Blowfish co-founder and guitarist Mark Bryan, a Seneca Valley graduate, once told me.
“I rode the school bus with Charlie Thomas,” ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, a Montgomery County native, once revealed to me.
During his senior campaign at Seneca Valley, Thomas averaged 20.3 points, 12 rebounds and six assists per game. At 6-foot-7, he could play any position on the court and once registered seven dunks in a single game.
“He took my place as shooting guard,” Sheahin told me recently. “They moved him out to shooting guard his senior year.”
Thomas earned first team All-Met honors in 1984 and was selected to play in the eleventh annual McDonald’s Capital Classic alongside Gonzaga (D.C) guard John Thompson III and Park View (Va.) forward Billy King among others.
“He could shoot and take the ball to the basket,” said Sheahin, who described his former teammate as a “phenomenal player.”
“He was just fun to play with,” added Sheahin, who noted that Thomas was a “great teammate.”
Quince Orchard head coach Paul Foringer compared Thomas to “Magic Johnson” in terms of his skill set back then.
“I think he defended the other team’s post player,” recalled Foringer, “but on offense he was out front.”
Thomas III began his college career at Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference but later transferred to New Mexico.
His son signed with Big Ten Conference member Wisconsin in November where he will join one of the nation’s top men’s basketball programs headed by Bo Ryan.
“I’m very excited,” Thomas IV told me after Saturday’s game. “I can’t wait to get up there.”
Meanwhile, Tarke was a nightmare for opposing teams this season, scoring double figures in every game for the Trojans who finished the campaign with a 17-5 record.
Tarke is one of the best players I’ve seen come out of Gaithersburg High School in the past two decades.
“He’s tough to cover,” Sheahin said about Tarke. “He’s a tough assignment for anybody and it just makes us look like we know what we’re doing when we get him the ball. He’s just so hard to cover.”
Saturday’s game was an opportunity for Maryland’s best players to compete against each other. The talent was elite and we should be hearing more about Maryland’s finest in the coming years.
You can contact Brandy at email@example.com