It started as a coming-out party for unknown Gwynn Lake Prep and just another home opener for defending state Class 4A champion Arundel.
But when top-ranked Arundel was pushed to the limit for a 61-58 victory over lightning-quick Gwynn Lake yesterday, the game took on a whole new meaning for both schools.
Arundel realized it had just beaten one of the Baltimore metro area's most talented teams, even though Gwynn Lake was playing only the fourth game in the young school's history.
And Gwynn Lake could see how close it had come to rocking the local girls basketball scene so soon.
"It was a moral victory for us," said Gwynn Lake coach Roland Hall. "We were just a couple of rebounds away from winning this game. They're a more seasoned and mature team than we are. They had 10 returning players, and our girls have only played together in rec leagues."
But give Arundel coach Lee Rogers credit for scheduling Gwynn Lake (3-1) in a game in which the Wildcats (1-0) had much to lose and nothing to gain.
Gwynn Lake, on Gwynn Oak Avenue in Woodlawn in western Baltimore County, is fielding a girls basketball team for the first season in the school's two-year existence. New Destiny Christian Center supports the school.
Nicknamed the Lakers, the newcomers tuned up for yesterday's big-time debut by crushing three outclassed opponents, Calvary Christian, Mount Carmel and Montrose Prep by a combined total of 283-67. The Lakers ripped Calvary Christian of Glen Burnie, 110-3, and Mount Carmel, 88-11.
Yesterday, the Lakers flirted with a major upset by jumping off to a 7-0 lead, and held an 18-10 advantage in the second quarter. And with just 31 seconds left in the game, they battled back to within three points (59-56) of Arundel.
However, smooth junior guard Sherice Proctor rescued the Wildcats often from impending disaster with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Proctor also hit both ends of a one-and-one with nine seconds left to push Arundel ahead, 61-56, and snuff out Gwynn Lake's final desperation bid to pull out a win.
Proctor and sophomore Megan Rollins (12 points) handled the ball down the stretch against a very strong Gwynn Lake press that never stopped coming at the Wildcats with constant quickness.
Sophomore Jimea Barner led the Lakers with 17 points, and freshman LaTonya Blue had 14 points. Barner was averaging 26.5 points and 11 steals a game.
Barner, Blue, Vonnell Baylor (12 points), Tiffany Jones, Quante Toney and Dana McGriff were the only six on the team yesterday because three other Gwynn Lake players were on a mandatory school field trip to New York. One of the missing players was 5-foot-9 starting center Tameka Jackson.
Arundel's Rogers said it was an "ugly win" against a "team of XTC all-stars," but he said he plans to play Gwynn Lake again next season.
Pub Date: 12/06/96