The Francis Scott Key girls basketball team has had a phenomenal season with a 19-3 record, including an 11-1 conference mark to win the Carroll County championship.
The Eagles are balanced group with several different scoring options including junior Drew Watkins, who was the county’s fifth-leading scorer with 10.6 points a game. She also gives strong contributions to defense and rebounding.
FSK is seeded second in Class 1A South Region I and hosts defending 1A state champion Pikesville at 6 p.m. Monday in a regional semifinal. Watkins recently spoke to the Carroll County Times about the season and what lies ahead. (Editor’s note: some questions and answers have been lightly edited for clarity):
At the beginning of the season, a lot of people thought it was going to be a great county race between you, Manchester Valley, Westminster and maybe some others. What set you apart from the rest?
We have a lot of threats on our team. Some of the other schools, they have one player they generally highlight as their best player. We had a lot of people we all knew were going to play great and you could highlight each of them, so when you come together as a team, another team couldn’t scout us and think, ‘We just have to stop this player.’ It was, ‘Oh, we got to take care of all of them.’
With that being said, how do you see your role on the team and what’s your part in that?
I’m not crazy good at one thing. Like, Summer [Brooks] is a great outside shooter, Ally [Mathias] is a great rebounder, great in the post. I think if I’m not doing good at one thing in a game, I can pick up somewhere else quickly. If my defense isn’t going well, my offense can make up for it. If my offense isn’t doing well, my defense is probably doing well. It’s the little things.
How much more dangerous does that make your team knowing there are so many options?
A lot more dangerous. If a team came to scout us at one of our games, someone could’ve been having an off game, or someone could’ve been having a great game. So after watching that you think you know what you have to do to stop us. But what they don’t realize is if you stop one player, someone else is going to step up, either from the starting five or from off the bench.
Was there a point in this season, any game or any moment where it really clicked for you like, ‘Hey, this is our year?’
Personally what really kicked it off for me was beating Catoctin in our Christmas tournament. Catoctin was a team last year, it was a hard-fought game but we lost by a decent amount. We played them the first game and only losing by one, it was thinking how much better we got from last year. And then playing them again in the Christmas tournament, in that little bit of time [to beat them 56-34] we just got that much better.
What did winning the county mean for both the team and you personally?
As a team, it meant we started something. FSK has always been the school everyone’s sure they could beat because it’s just FSK. As a team, it meant we made a name for ourselves. And that’s personally, too, because I always got mad when someone would be like, ‘Oh, it’s just FSK.’
So, with all your accomplishments, 19 wins, county championships, congratulations you draw the state champions in the first round. What are you guys looking at in that matchup?
It was definitely a tough game last year [Pikesville won 68-47]. And then they went on to be state champs which is great for them. But this year, knowing how we played against them last year, we didn’t push ourselves in that game. One thing happened and it snowballed into a slump. This year what we focused on through everything is not getting mad at something you mess up at and knowing you have your whole team behind you to help you. We know it’s going to be tough, but we gotta push ourselves through everything.
You also play field hockey and lacrosse, do any of the skills from your other sports carry over into basketball?
I know from lacrosse, my coach [TJ Develin] knows lacrosse is my main sport so he tries to bring in every thing possible, defense, working on the footwork can help me in field hockey, it can help me in basketball. And in field hockey, knowing you have someone behind you that will always be in a help spot.
Field hockey season ended on a bit of a sour note losing in the state semifinals. Can you take any motivation or lessons learned from that playoff run into this one?
My coach brings up field hockey a lot since I’m not the only one that was on that team. He says, we want to be like them. We want to go all the way to finals and win. You can be mad at one sport, but that just makes you want it that much more the next time.
OK, now time for the hard-hitting questions about you and your team. Out of all your teammates, who do you think would make the best coach one day?
Probably Summer, because I think she has some of the most game sense and she pushes you. She wants you to be your best and she tells you that.
Who would win a team dance-off?
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Abby Rieger, that girl has all the energy in the world. She dances in warmups, she dances at halftime and most of the time at practice.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Hawaii, it’s warm and I’m slowly starting to like surfing a lot, and it’s just always sounds like a great place to be.
If you could have dinner with any celebrity, who would it be?
Taylor Cummings, who played on the US lacrosse team. She’s always been my idol for lacrosse.
What streaming show would you most recommend binge watching?