Take away a starting senior guard and it obviously will make a difference in how a team plays.
It did for the Oakland Mills girls, but the Scorpions still advanced to tomorrow's finals (8 p.m.) of the state Class 3A basketball tournament, knocking off Catonsville, 64-39, at Catonsville Community College last night.
Oakland Mills (23-2) was missing Stefanie Magro, who only Wednesday was released from the hospital after having an appendectomy last Saturday.
"There was a difference [without Magro], but that wasn't necessarily a bad difference," said Oakland Mills power forward Christine Copeland. She had 13 points and seven rebounds and center Andrea Romich had 12 points as the Scorpions went to their inside power game to dominate the shorter and younger Comets (21-4).
With Magro out, Oakland Mills coach Teresa Waters shifted high-scoring Mia Dammen (17 ppg) to point guard and used Suzanne Willis (seven points, three assists) on the wing.
Dammen's scoring did not suffer much. She had 15 points, but also contributed nine steals and seven assists while consistently beating the Comets' press and getting the ball inside to Copeland and Romich.
"We missed Stefanie, but everyone just picked up for her," said Dammen. "Christine is extremely strong. We didn't know what to expect from Catonsville, but it didn't take long to see we could go inside against them."
The Scorpions will have a tougher time tomorrow against DuVal, 71-52 winner over Northern-Calvert in the other Class 3A semifinal last night.
DuVal (22-3, ranked No. 9 in The Washington Post) got 18 points and 10 rebounds from 6-foot-3 center Cheri Douglas.
"They remind me a lot of us," said Dammen. "They like to run and gun. So do we."
"I hope we can take it right to DuVal's big girl [Douglas]," said Waters. "We're going to try and see if she can handle Christine and Andrea."
Oakland Mills has not been to the state finals since 1977, the same year DuVal won its first of three state championships.