The air was festive around Arundel High yesterday as the 1996 state Class 4A girls basketball championship banner was unveiled at halftime during the Wildcats' 46-35 victory over Annapolis.
But the fourth-ranked Wildcats found out again yesterday they have a long way to go before thinking about a second straight state championship.
Each game has been an adventure for Arundel (2-2) in the early-going this year, and nothing changed yesterday against seventh-ranked Annapolis, which helped the Wildcats' with 30 turnovers and frigid shooting.
Arundel, down a key guard because of injury, never got into the offensive flow. But some strong defensive play by junior Sherice Proctor and senior Lachelle McHenry saved the Wildcats.
Proctor and McHenry combined for 15 of Arundel's 20 steals against the Panthers (2-2), who had trouble getting the ball across half-court most of the game.
The Wildcats also got a major boost from hustling sophomore forward Breanna Kitchen, who came off the bench in the second quarter and scored seven points during a 16-8 run that gave the home team a 22-14 half-time lead.
Kitchen finished with eight points and one rebound in her top effort of the young season.
Erin Wilmer led the Arundel offense with 10 points and contributed four rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Proctor had nine points, eight steals, three assists and two rebounds and McHenry -- Arundel's only senior -- scored seven points, had seven steals, six assists and three rebounds.
"I'm just trying to get the right combination of players out on the floor for us," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers, who shuffled players in and out of the game. "I'm starting to get a feel for what will work for us, but we're not there yet."
Arundel has now played nearly three games without talented sophomore guard Megan Rollins, who is out with a fractured growth plate in a hip. She was injured early in the second quarter of the season's second game. Without her, the team is 1-2.
Annapolis has lost five straight to Arundel now after having won six in a row.
Pub Date: 12/18/96