Over the last decade, Baltimore County has emerged as an unexpected power spot on the state basketball stage. County teams continued that trend in 2022 with three state titles. On the boys side, New Town added to its collection of banners with the Class 2A crown and Parkville won the school’s first state basketball championship in Class 4A.

Pikesville won its third straight 1A girls basketball state championship. McDonogh won yet another IAAM A Conference girls championship, and Beth Tfiloh prevailed in the MIAA C Conference championship game.

McDonogh also won the IAAM A Conference indoor track championship and the MIAA A Conference swimming title. In addition, Maryvale Prep was the winner of the IAAM B Conference swimming championship and Sparrows Point captured the Class 2A dual meet state wrestling championship.

Players who excelled in winning two of those championships are our picks as the top male and female athletes in Baltimore County for the 2022-23 winter sports season.

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Baltimore County Winter Sports Male Athlete of the Year: Caron Smith, Parkville Basketball

Every great basketball team needs a go-to outside shooter and, for Parkville in its run to the Class 4A state championship, Caron Smith was that weapon. He averaged 21 points during his senior year with the Knights and shot 38% from behind the 3-point line. In earning first-team all-metro honors, he shot better than 40% overall and contributed four rebounds and two assists per game.

Smith scored 23 points in a 72-56 Class 4A state championship game victory over Meade, helping Parkville finish the season with a 27-1 record. In the title game, Smith came up clutch from the free throw line, going 8-for-8.

Baltimore County Winter Sports Female Athlete of the Year: Autumn Fleary, McDonogh Basketball

Watching Autumn Fleary play last winter, it is hard to believe she was just a freshman as she helped lead McDonogh to the IAAM A Conference championship. Fleary played with the poise of a veteran, scoring 15 points per game, while averaging three assists and three steals per contest. She made every player on her team better with her playmaking skills and decision-making. Fleary scored in double digits in 23 of 25 games.

The IAAM title, as it often does, came down to a showdown between McDonogh and St. Frances, and Fleary jumped into the rivalry to make a big difference for the Eagles. In the final she scored 17 points, including a game-winning 3-point play as time was winding down, to lift McDonogh to a 50-47 victory.

Gary Adornato is the founder and original publisher of Varsity Sports Network, a high school sports news network that became part of The Baltimore Banner in August 2022.

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