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Hammond pair sparks Arundel team in national AAU tourney


The Arundel Waves, a 15-and-under girls basketball team based in Anne Arundel County, made a respectable stand by winning two games at last week's national Amateur Athletic Union tournament in Amarillo, Texas. The Waves can thank two outsiders -- Hammond High School's Kacy Williams and Sonia Keiner -- for their decent showing.

With Williams starting at point guard and Keiner at forward, the Waves won one of their first three games in the 45-team tournament to advance to the consolation round. There, the Waves beat the Ozark Association, 62-54, before being eliminated by Maine, 72-59.

"All of the girls did extremely well, particularly Kacy and Sonia," said Joe Gillespie, the Waves' coach. "They had a very significant effect on our performance. They bought the other girls' games up a notch."

That would figure, since Williams and Keiner were the team's most pressure-tested players.

Five months ago, Williams and Keiner played critical roles in Hammond's drive to its first girls basketball state championship. They have started for Hammond's varsity for two seasons and are heading into their junior years as two of the more highly touted players in Howard County.

Half of the Waves' 12-player roster had varsity experience. Williams and Keiner were the team's only two-year varsity players.

"They are both outstanding players. They both made good showings," Gillespie said. "We still had [college] coaches coming to see us after we were eliminated from contention. I think Sonia has got a good shot at a Division I scholarship. I think Kacy is probably headed wherever she wants to go."

The 5-foot-6 Williams was the team's spark throughout the state tournament as well as the nationals. At Amarillo, she turned the heads of college scouts by averaging a team-high 19.2 points and 3.8 assists a game during the Waves' 2-3 showing, including percent shooting from the floor. Her high point was a 21-point, nine-rebound, six-assist effort against Ozark.

"Last year was my first national [AAU] tournament," Williams said. "This year, I was better prepared. We did more than some people expected."

Keiner, 5-9, gave the Waves a steady presence inside. She averaged 11 points a game on 40 percent shooting, and also pulled down 4.2 rebounds a game.

Keiner's biggest game came against Ozark, when she scored 18 points on 8-for-17 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. She also had 11 points and four rebounds in a 50-25 victory over Vermont, the Waves' first opponent. In a 65-50 loss to Indiana, Keiner had 10 points and five rebounds.

Williams was superb from start to finish. She opened against Vermont by scoring 16 points, dishing out six assists and grabbing four rebounds. Against Indiana, she hit 10 of 20 shots and scored 24 points in a losing cause.

After scoring 16 in a 64-46 loss to Southeast Louisiana, Williams rebounded with a terrific game against Ozark. She wound up the tournament with 19 points, five assists and four rebounds against Maine.

"The other girls came to rely on Kacy. If she was at practice, we played at one level. If she wasn't there, we played at a lower level," Gillespie said.

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