As his players warmed up before yesterday's women's basketball game,Anne Arundel Community College coach Tom Smith sat on the bench and fed his 8-month-old son.
Had it been a girl, Chesapeake College coach John Coursey might have asked to borrow her for the game. He could have used the depth.
Having dropped to club status earlier this season, the Skipjacks had only five players available as they sought their first win after four lopsided defeats.
As expected, they failed in their latest attempt. Anne Arundel scored 43 of the game's first 45 points and coasted to an 80-14 win.
Chesapeake's output fell two shy of its seasonhigh, when Harford took a 95-16 decision. The Skipjacks also have been on the short end of 98-4, 77-9 and 67-9 scores.
"He's in a realrough spot. I feel for him," Smith said of Coursey.
He doesn't know the half of it.
As Coursey explained, none of the five women onhand had played the sport before this season, and the college hadn'toffered it since the late 1970s.
This didn't stay a secret for very long.
With the score tied, 2-2, Anne Arundel (7-4) ran off the last 39 points of the half and the first two after halftime. The Pioneers stayed in a passive zone throughout the game and resisted the temptation to run.
"They'll take a bad beating, but they'll hang in there," Coursey said.
The Skipjacks had only six team fouls and 20turnovers, respectable numbers, considering the circumstances.
"You've got to give them a lot of credit for coming out here," said sophomore guard Sarah Krucoff (Arundel), who had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists. "They look like they want to play and they're trying hard."
"It takes a lot of character to keep showing up after you get hammered," Smith said.
Ann Heiser (Severna Park) and Tiffany Clayton (Arundel) shared scoring honors with 18 points. Clayton also grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds, as the taller Pioneers claimed a 59-28 advantage on the boards.
Jen Rickard (Southern) added 13 points, Stacey Dent (South River) and Rhonda DeShaw (Andover) six each, and Nikki Beall (Meade) and Katie Laidley (Severna Park) four apiece. Laidley also had eight assists.
The Pioneers went 38-of-85 (45 percent) from the floor, but their percentage suffered over the last sixminutes, when anyone who touched the ball beyond the three-point arcwas prodded by her teammates to take a shot.
"This was a fun game, a lot of fun," DeShaw said.
What made Smith happy was the sight of Chesapeake's players and coaches having fun, rather than feeling humiliated.
"They understand they're not going to win many games, if any, but they're sticking it out for the school, to establish a program and get going," he said.
Sherri Simmons led Chesapeake with six points, followed by Scotta Murdoch (eight rebounds) and Cara Bluntwith four each. The points were Blunt's first all season.