Kristi Greer became the top scorer in Howard High School girls basketball history Friday night with a four-star performance, and the restof the Lions followed Greer's lead, as Howard smothered Glenelg in asurprising 58-32 blowout.
Greer, the 5-foot-6 senior guard who broke the 1,000-point barrier two weeks ago against Wilde Lake, played on her own level for much of the night before finishing with 23 points and 16 rebounds, both game highs. But it was her basket with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter -- and the game long outof reach -- that gave the home fans what they had come to see.
Greer dribbled into the lane, spun away from one Glenelg defender, then split two more Gladiators with a strong move to the basket before sinking an underhand, four-foot shot to score her 21st point of the night. She entered the game needing 20 points to break the record of 1,116, set by Laurie Governor in 1984.
The game was stopped briefly following Greer's record-breaker. She was given a standing ovation, while she and Howard coach Craig O'Connell embraced near midcourt. Greer then went back to work by hitting a 16-footer to give Howard a 54-23 lead. She came out of the game for good with 2:46 remaining.
"My confidence is really up right now," said Greer, who shot 11-for-22 from the floor and added three steals and three assists. "As soon as I got over 1,000, I didn't think about it that much. But when he(O'Connell) told me at the end of the third quarter that all I needed was one point, I was thinking about it. I got nervous. That's why Imissed those layups."
Actually, Greer missed just one layup, early in the fourth quarter, after teammate Krista Fulton hit her with a long pass that seemingly had easy fast-break bucket written all over it. Greer then missed two more open 12-footers before setting the record shot. She has 1,119 points.
"Krista was mad, because she wanted to assist it (the record-breaker)," Greer said.
Friday, Greer got plenty of help. Guard Camille Powell had 10 points and five steals.Forward Emily Petrlik had eight points and 10 rebounds. Guard SharonFord had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Fulton was a defensive force with 10 rebounds and a game-high six blocked shots. Howard manhandled Glenelg on the boards, grabbing 55 rebounds to the Gladiators' 20.
The Lions (6-2, 11-5), who were coming off a tough 50-48 defeat to Oakland Mills two days before, attacked Glenelg (5-3, 11-4) with a matchup zone alignment that frustrated the Gladiators' outside shooters. Howard also effectively mixed in fullcourt pressure and halfcourt traps.
On top of that, when the Gladiators managed to get the ball toan open shooter, nothing would fall. Glenelg shot a miserable 11-for-72 from the floor (15.3 percent). The Gladiators fell behind by an insurmountable 31-7 margin at halftime, after making just two baskets in 25 attempts (8 percent) in a half that featured airballs, bricks and blown layups.
Howard shot 43 percent from the floor (25-for-58).
Glenelg's shooting futility was a repeat of its first meeting with Howard. In that game, the Gladiators shot just 18 percent in the second half and lost by five.
Glenelg came into Friday's rematch onthe heels of some bad omens.
First, the Gladiators arrived at Howard 45 minutes late because of transportation problems, depriving them on their normal warm-up routine.
Second, Glenelg senior forward Leslie Service (10 points, 13 rebounds) did not play. She fractured abone in her foot in Thursday's practice and will find out from her doctor tomorrow if or when she will return this season.
"I feel badfor (Glenelg coach) Barb (Wolf), because that's where I was last year," said Coach O'Connell, referring to his losing Fulton early last season to a neck injury. "When you lose someone like that, a good player at both ends of the floor like Leslie, it hurts."
And yet, evenO'Connell acknowledged the Gladiators with Service would have had a difficult time stopping the Lions Friday night.
"You can't be muchmore intense than we were tonight. Everybody played hard. Everybody was helping out. Everybody was scrapping. The ultimate game," O'Connell said. "We went in at halftime and said we have to go out thinking this is a tie game. We have to win the second half."
Tanissa Dorsey and Kara Meissner led Glenelg with 10 points each.
The Lions really decided the issue early. While Glenelg was missing its first eight shots of the game, Greer scored seven of the game's first nine points to stake Howard to a 9-0 lead with 2:58 left in the first quarter.The Lions then scored 10 unanswered points to make it 19-2 with 6:07to go in the half. Glenelg cut the margin to 21-6, but that was the closest the Gladiators would get.
At halftime, Greer had 13 points, and the only thing keeping fans interested was how long it would take her to set the record.
"Being 6-2 is nice, but we won't look down the road. In this county, anyone can knock the big guys off any night," O'Connell said. "Right now, we're excited. We have two days to enjoy this. And then we've got to forget about it."