Banners hanging in the Hammond gymnasium attest to past regional and state girls basketball championships. But there is no girls basketball team listed on the county championship banner.
Soon there will be.
The No. 1 Golden Bears clinched at least a tie for the Howard County title with a record-setting 85-30 victory over visiting Oakland Mills yesterday.
"That was the goal since the beginning of the season -- to win the county championship," said senior guard Sonia Keiner. "We've won states and we've won regionals, but in the whole history of Hammond High no one had ever won counties."
The Bears (19-1 overall, 13-0 league) will get their chance to win the title outright when they make up an iced-out, regular-season game at No. 6 Mount Hebron on March 7.
The game is squeezed in between the regional playoffs and the state semifinals to which both teams have a good chance to advance. But the Bears don't mind. They want to play the four-time defending champs.
"We don't want to have to share the title," said Keiner. "Once we get it, we want it to be our own. That's motivation to win that game, but we know we can't underestimate them. They're playing very well now."
So are the Bears. Yesterday, Hammond played its usual relentless defense but also shot 51 percent from the field.
Three single-game school records fell as the Bears pulled away from an 8-6 lead midway through the first quarter and rolled to a 45-13 halftime lead.
Tiki Nicholson set a scoring record with 30 points, hitting 13 of 19 shots. Robin Lucas had scored 28 points in a game during the 1981-82 season.
Kacy Williams, the senior point guard headed for Georgetown, broke the mark for assists with 18. Laurie Oliver had set the previous record of 14 seven years ago.
The Bears also broke the team scoring record for the second time in two days. They scored 84 in Thursday's victory over Centennial, but Tameka Harrison's buzzer-beating jumper yesterday bettered that by one.
With four seconds to go and the Bears in possession, Harrison (16 points) switched the inbounds play from a baseline pick play to a double screen. Sharon Riggs fed Harrison the ball and the junior hit a 15-footer.
Melissa Singleton led the Scorpions (10-10, 7-7) with 12 points.
These two teams could meet again next week in the Class 2A South region playoffs. Hammond will be seeded first followed by No. 18 Glenelg with the Scorpions trying to cling to third.