Last year, the Northeast girls basketball team said goodbye to seniors Monica Everett, Heather Kotula and Crissy Sisk's combined 25 points per game.

The Eagles went 19-7 with the now-departed trio, losing to eventual champion Mount Hebron in the state semifinals.

This season, senior forward Stephanie Lazor and junior forward Debbie Dadds have combined for nearly 30 points and 31 rebounds per game.

Only this time around, the Eagles had to do without Lazor's team-leading 16 points and 14 rebounds in their 2A Region III quarterfinal matchup against St. Mary's County entry Chopticon.

Seniors Kristy Zulka and Tammy Keubel keyed the hosts to a 45-19 romp, as the Eagles' aggressive defense smothered the Braves all evening long.

Zulka, who had missed half the year with a knee injury, finished with a game-high 16 points (13 in the first half) while collecting eight rebounds. Keubel keyed a second-half surge in which the Eagles out scored their opponents, 21-6, finishing with 13.

"We knew someone had to step up and look for shots, so that's what Kristy and I did," said Keubel, who netted 11 points during the second stanza.

Chopticon's leading scorer, Dana Herbert (16.8 points per game, second in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference), led the 8-13 Braves with just eight points. The shifty guard picked up three fouls in the first quarter and continuously was rattled the rest of the game.

"I was very surprised that we came out and played as well as we did," said Northeast head coach Calvin Vain. "Dadds really did an outstanding job on the boards, and although we had some careless turnovers, we handled their pressure pretty well."

Dadds finished with a game-high 12 points and 19 rebounds.

Chopticon took its only lead of the night (4-2) on an 18-foot jumper by Herbert at 6 minutes, 20 seconds in the first quarter. The Eagles (14-9) then rolled off 10 consecutive points on their way to a 24-13 bulge at the end of the first half.

Northeast will travel to second-seeded Frederick Douglass of Prince George'sCounty tomorrow for a 7 p.m. semifinal.

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