With every season, Westminster senior standout Jill Ibex has expanded her game.
The 6-foot tall center was moved up to varsity three games into her freshman season and averaged six points and five rebounds, playing a defensive role off the bench.
As a sophomore on a senior-laden team, she became a starter and showed signs of the complete player she has become, finishing the season averaging 10.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal a game.
Last year as the go-to player, her numbers rose again: 14 points and 11 rebounds a game with 90 blocked shots, 49 assists and 38 steals. Her versatility is apparent when she grabs a rebound and starts a fast break, or when she steps outside to hit a jumper.
It was even more apparent this fall when she helped the top-ranked Owls field hockey team win the Class 4A state championship. While most of the taller basketball players opt for volleyball, Ibex was right at home earning first-team, All-County honors in field hockey.
"I started playing field hockey in middle school because all my friends were playing it," she said. "Winning a state title was great. The moment was indescribable."
Ibex said she's expecting to see two key ingredients -- "working together and playing hard" -- on the basketball court.
The Owls have a number of returning seniors joining Ibex in the starting lineup and have plenty of potential after going 10-13 last season.
"We'd like to improve on last year, win the county and go farther in states," Ibex said. "Things are clicking, and it helps when you know what each other are going to do out there."
Linganore, again, in CMC
There are two reasons why the Linganore Lancers, 25-0 and the Class 2A state champs last season, are favorites to win their sixth Central Maryland Conference crown in seven years -- seniors Cara Consuegra and Mimi Ritter.
Staying with the guard tandem has been nearly impossible for opposing backcourts the past couple of seasons. The 5-8 Consuegra, who averaged 24 points, 11.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists last season, has signed to play at Division I power Iowa, while the 5-11 Ritter (17 points a game last season) is headed for Georgetown.
The Lancers, who averaged 80 points a game last season while giving up 40, will be young at the post positions after losing their starting frontcourt. Coach Brian Matthews fooled with a five-guard lineup in a recent scrimmage.
Monocacy Valley League
Another Frederick County team, Middletown, is among the teams to beat in what should be a balanced Monocacy Valley Athletic League this season.
The Knights, who won the MVAL crown last season with a young group, return just about every player from last year's squad.
Francis Scott Key should have a say, though.
The Eagles had their first winning season under third-year coach Alice Smith last year at 14-10 and were 10-8 in the MVAL. They have plenty of senior talent returning, led by first-team All-County guard Nicole Keffer and forwards Cindy Sheedy and Stephanie Stambaugh.
Along with a first-year coach in Jessica Manahan and newcomers in the lineup, Carroll Christian's schedule has a new look, too. For the first time, the Patriots have added games
against a couple of public schools. They will play Liberty twice this season, starting with an away game on Tuesday, and also will travel to Frederick County to play Urbana in January.
Pub Date: 12/04/96