COACH OF THE YEAR
* Linda Caccavalla, Perry Hall -- After serving as an assistant coach at Perry Hall the past two seasons, Caccavalla assumed the head coaching position and turned around a program that had been in decline for several years. With basically the same players that comprised last season's team that finished 5-14, Perry Hall went 17-6 to advance to the regional playoffs for the first time in six years. The Gators defeated Mervo in a Class 4A North Region first-round game before losing to No. 5 Lake Clifton in the regional semifinals. Against the heavily-favored Lakers, Perry Hall was within three points at halftime and 11 points after ++ three quarters before eventually losing, 74-42. After the game, Perry Hall's Shannon Burke said that Caccavalla "has us believing that we're as good as anyone." Before Caccavalla had taken over, winning was a concept that the Gators were not very familiar with. "The main focus was to win because it had never even been thought about before," said Caccavalla, who had coached at Manhasset High School in Long Island for seven years. Caccavalla also stressed fundamentals and team unity. "We made a commitment to the team concept," said Caccavalla, who changed her starting lineup approximately every three games. "They realized that no one can do it alone and they all need each other. Every one had to be able to handle the ball and
you had to know more than just your position."
THE FIRST TEAM AT GLANCE
* Amy Buck, Mount de Sales -- Buck, 6-2, solidified her standing as one of the area's top inside players, but she also demonstrated the ability to shoot from outside when necessary. Her three-point shot with seven seconds left lifted the Sailors to an upset of St. Mary's last month. Buck, a second-team All-Metro pick last season, led 17th-ranked Mount de Sales in scoring (16.3), rebounding (12.3) and free-throw percentage (75 percent). Several Division I schools have recruited Buck for basketball, but she has opted to play lacrosse at Towson State.
* Melba Chambers, St. Frances -- After an early-season scoring slump, Chambers finished strong to lead the seventh-ranked Panthers to their second straight Catholic League Tournament championship. Chambers scored 83 points in three Catholic League tournament games, including 30 against Mount de Sales in the finale. Chambers, who has given an oral commitment to Georgetown, averaged a team-high 16.0 ppg, as well as 6.6 rpg and 3.0 apg. A first-team All-Metro selection last season, she finished her career with 1,892 points and over 700 rebounds and 300 assists.
* DaShawn Coleman, Lake Clifton -- Coleman transferred from Walbrook and teamed with point guard Lashina Gross to give the fifth-ranked Lakers one of the area's top
backcourts. A second-team All-Metro selection last season, Coleman led the Lakers in scoring (17.0 ppg). She made an immediate impact by scoring 20 in Lake Clifton's 54-50 victory over Hammond during the first week of the season. Coleman had the ability to drive to the basket, but the outside shot was her forte. Coleman will play at the junior college level next season.
* Meghann Donovan, Seton Keough -- The improvement to Donovan's overall game was one of the big keys in the Gators' rise to the Catholic League regular-season title. Donovan led No. Seton Keough in scoring (12.3 ppg), rebounding (8.3 rpg), field-goal percentage (51 percent), steals (3.7) and blocks (32). Despite her size (5-10), Donovan held her own inside against taller opponents on both ends of the court. Also a member of Seton Keough's swimming team, she was one of the few athletes to letter in two sports during the same season.
* Lashina Gross, Lake Clifton -- A four-year starter for the Lakers, Gross capped her high school career with another solid season. She was among the area's leaders in assists (7.0) and finished second on the team in scoring (16.9). Gross, a second-team All-Metro selection the past two seasons, was the spark behind one of the area's highest-scoring offenses. She impressed Lake Clifton coach James Monroe with her quickness, court sense and hustle. Gross will play at the junior college level next season.
* Melanie Morris, Seton Keough -- Whether she played point guard, shooting guard or small forward, Morris always delivered a solid performance. A fundamentally-sound player who rarely made bad decisions, Morris averaged 11.3 ppg, 3.3 apg and 2.7 spg. She also averaged less than one turnover per game and always matched up defensively against the opposition's top scorer. Morris, a second-team All-Metro pick last season, came through in the clutch for the Gators on several occasions, including a 55-40 victory over St. Mary's in which she scored 17 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter.
* Kimberly Smith, Western -- With her flashy no-look and behind-the-back passes and her slick one-on-one moves, Smith was one of the area's more entertaining players. Her quick first step allowed her to blow by opposing defenders. Smith, who will play at Georgetown next season, was second on the Doves in scoring (15.0) and the team leader in assists (3.5). A first-team All-Metro selection last season, Smith shot 42 percent (36-for-86) from three-point range this season and is Western's all-time leader in three-pointers (114-for-220, 52 percent).
* Tesha Tinsley, Western -- While Wright and Smith received most of the accolades, Tinsley quitely did an outstanding job running the Doves' offense. Tinsley, who will play at Northeastern next season, averaged 10.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.7 apg and a team-best 4.6 spg. With Tinsley handling the ball, Western had little difficulty breaking the press. Tinsley, a second-team All-City-County selection last season, was adept at hitting the three-pointer or taking the ball inside and dishing it off.
* Kristi Webb, St. Frances -- In a season where some of her teammates suffered from scoring slumps or injuries, Webb was a model of consistency. She was second on the Panthers in scoring (14.1) and also averaged 9.5 rpg and 3.0 apg. Webb always has had the ability to score, but this season, she showed marked improvement in her rebounding and defense. She averaged 16.7 ppg and 15.0 rpg in three Catholic League Tournament games. Webb, a second-team All-City/County pick last season, finished her career with 1,281 points and 500 rebounds.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: CHANEL WRIGHT
Chanel Wright, Western -- High expectations are something that Wright has dealt with since she entered Western three years ago as the marquee player in what was possibly the most highly-touted freshmen class ever in the area. Wright immediately established that she was worthy of such expectations. She was selected to the All-Metro first team during each of her first three seasons and was the metro Co-Player of the Year last season. Wright has led the Doves in scoring all four years and is the school's all-time leading scorer (1,730 points). She has scored in double figures in every game she has played in during her high school career and was especially tough in big games. It seems with each passing day that Wright has garnered another accolade. Earlier this week, she was selected as one of the top 20 seniors in the country by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She also has been named to All-America teams by USA Today and Street & Smith's and Parade magazines. This season, Wright averaged 21.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals to lead Western to a 26-0 record and its second consecutive Class 4A state championship. Wright was adept at penetrating or hitting the outside jumper. Usually a wing, Wright has played all five positions during her tenure at Western. Several times this season, Wright has been asked to play inside when Western coach Breezy Bishop thought the Doves needed a lift there. Wright will play at North Carolina next season, where Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell thinks she could make an immediate impact. "I can see her being counted on as a freshman," Hatchell said. "She's just a fierce competitor who loves basketball and loves to compete."
PICKING THE TEAMS
The Baltimore Sun 1994-95 All-Baltimore City/County and City All-League Girls Basketball Teams were selected by Kevin Eck after consultation with staff writers and area coaches. The Association of Independent Schools, Catholic League and Baltimore County All-League Teams were selected by league coaches.