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1998-99 Howard County girls basketball previews

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Atholton Raiders

1997-98 record: 4-19 overall, 2-16 league

Coach: Todd Kriner

Top players: Erin Caffrey, 5-3, Sr., G; Aleah Zinalabedini, 5-7, Sr., F; Karen Brownlie, 5-4, Jr., G

Outlook: "These kids don't want to be another four-win team," Kriner said. "Their focus and attitude is better than it's been here in a while." The Raiders graduated five starters. Sophomore guards Sarah Costa (5-8) and Michelle McKenna (5-7) are up from the JV. The Raiders don't have a lot of height and often will play with three guards. Laura Conners, a 5-10 junior center with two years of JV experience, might be lost for the season after dislocating a shoulder in practice last week. That leaves 5-10 senior center Natalie Bartholomew, a first-year player, the tallest member on the squad. Kriner said the Raiders will "run as much as we can" and that they need to make "good decisions with the ball." Atholton has six seniors, two juniors and four sophomores.

Centennial Eagles

1997-98 record: 19-6 overall, 15-3 league

Coach: Dave Greenberg

Top players: Tia Richardson, 5-9, Sr., F; Ashley Evans, 5-6, Soph., G; Alexia Vogler, 5-4, Sr., G; Stacie Tokasz, 5-6, Sr., G

Outlook: The Eagles aren't as tall as last year but are quicker and more athletic. Richardson led the team in scoring (9.5) and rebounding (6.8) last year, and with her work ethic, lifts the team. "Defensively and rebounding, she's a tremendous player, and offensively she's improving," said Greenberg. "Her attitude has been great." Evans, who had 18 three-pointers last season, "can shoot the ball as well as anybody in the county," Greenberg said. Vogler and Tokasz, four-year varsity players, are capable of scoring but primarily are defense-minded. "They really play hard and create problems for the other team," Greenberg said. Three juniors return with varsity experience and will contribute -- 6-1 forward Erika Schroeder, 6-0 forward Amanda Olsen and 5-6 guard Maggie Via. Two players transferred from the Los Angeles area -- 5-8 junior guard/forward Darlena Hammond and her sister Jasmine, a 5-7 freshman guard. "Both are very athletic but have a ton to learn," Greenberg said. The Eagles, who have three seniors, five juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen, have a another set of sisters. Tia Richardson's sister, Lisa, a 5-8 freshman, is expected to contribute. "She can do a lot of things. I expect her to help us out," Greenberg said. Adding depth at the guard spot will be 5-7 junior Kelby Vanous, up from the JV. Greenberg said the team's success will depend on "how well everyone meshes together and understands what we're trying to do. The system is new to a lot of the kids. It will take a lot of patience and a lot of work."

Chapelgate Christian Flames

1997-98 record: 9-16 overall, 5-4 league

Coach: Jim Barber

Top players: Laura Starsoneck, 5-10, Jr., F; Meghan Price, 5-8, Sr., G; Ellie Kogok, 5-9, Jr., F

Outlook: First-year coach Barber has 11 players, including one senior and two returning starters. Starsoneck led the team last season, averaging 13.3 points and 11.5 rebounds. Price, the lone senior, had 73 assists. Kogok adds some more experience. She played last year at Montrose Christian School, where Barber coached for six years, and averaged seven points and 11 rebounds. Also contributing will be 5-10 freshman center Christy Groves, 5-7 junior guard/forward Jamie Olthoff, 5-7 1/2 sophomore guard Emily Brundage and 6-0 junior center Sarah Busick. "We have a lot to work with," said Barber. "It should be an exciting year." Barber will count on Starsoneck, Kogok and Busick

underneath, and Price and Brundage from the outside. Olthoff, said Barber, is a defensive specialist. "She works extremely hard," Barber said. "We rely on her to ignite our defense." Chapelgate, which competes in the Association of Independent Schools B Conference, has one senior, four juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen on the team. "We want to work hard every night and look to improve," Barber said.

Glenelg Gladiators

1997-98 record: 14-10 overall, 10-8 league

Coach: Ciaran Lesikar

Top players: Lauren Martin, 5-7, Sr., G; Kris Brust, 6-2, Sr., C; Heather Young, 5-7, Soph., G; Stephanie Howell, 5-8, Jr., G/F

Outlook: The Gladiators return four starters, including the county's top two scorers, and add a solid player in Young, a transfer from Annapolis High. Opposing coaches say Glenelg will be strong, and Lesikar doesn't dispute it. "If they come out to play, they can beat anybody," Lesikar said. "We're a better shooting team than we were my first two years, and we're a much more skilled team. We just need to develop depth." Martin has led the county in scoring the last two years, averaging 23.8 as a sophomore at River Hill and 17.4 last year at Glenelg. She has led the county in three-point baskets the last three seasons -- 54, 57 and 50, respectively -- and has scored 1,286 points, 390 shy of the county record held by 1982 Mount Hebron graduate Doreatha Beck. Brust averaged 14.9 points and 12 rebounds last year and blocked 25 shots. The two other returning starters are Howell, who has good speed and an improved shot, and 5-8 junior forward Jenny Kurdziel, a strong and intense insider player. Three other players look to make strong contributions -- 5-4 freshman guard Lindsey Lewis, 5-8 sophomore guard/forward Erin Edell and 5-4 sophomore guard Stephanie Simpson. Lesikar said Lewis is a "great athlete" whose quickness will help defensively. Edell "can play four out of five positions," Lesikar said. "We're looking for her to give us a lot of quality time because she is so versatile." The Gladiators have three seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen.

Glenelg Country School Dragons

1997-98 record: 4-12 overall, 0-9 league

Coach: Sharon Vietmeier

Top players: Toyin Ogunfolaju, 5-11, Fr., C; Jenni VanSant, 5-5, Jr., G: Megan Reuwer, 5-8, Jr., F

Outlook: After two winless seasons, the Dragons won four games last season under first-year coach Vietmeier. "I see us definitely winning more than four games," Vietmeier said. "I think we're stronger. I'm really looking for some big things from us." The Dragons, who play in the Association of Independent Schools B Conference, return three starters -- Reuwer, 5-4 sophomore guard Christine Corkran and 5-8 sophomore guard/froward Amy Grear. Corkran is rehabilitating a knee, and Vietmeier hopes she'll be able to play in the Dragons' holiday tournament, Dec. 18-19. Two players who didn't play last year at Glenelg Country are expected to contribute -- VanSant, a transfer from South Carroll, and 5-6 sophomore guard Molly Walker. Allison Miller, who came off the bench last season, returns, and the 5-6 guard/forward is the only senior. The Dragons have two juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen. "For being as young as we are, we can be a patient team," Vietmeier said. "I think they understand the game better then they have in the past." Vietmeier said the team has "better cohesiveness" and is "more well-rounded. We have a very positive attitude. We're really excited about this season."

Hammond Golden Bears

1997-98 record: 6-15 overall, 5-13 league

Coach: Joe Russo

Top players: Lauren Traber, 5-7, Sr., G; Kelly Workman, 5-8, Sr., F

Outlook: The Golden Bears return only two players from last year's team -- Traber and Workman. Traber provides leadership and hustle, said Russo, and will play both guard positions. Workman is top returning scorer, averaging 7.4 points. Two players up from the JV who will contribute are sophomore forwards Laura Erdmand (5-11) and Chanee Qualls (5-9). Erdmand led the JV in scoring, averaging 11 points. Hammond has two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. Those freshmen hold the key. "Nothing is proven," said Russo, who could start three freshmen. "We're very inexperienced, but we will be sensational in the future." And the future could come this season. "If those freshmen develop by the middle of the season, we'll give people fits," he said. The four freshmen are 6-1 center Rachel Foley, 5-7 guard Julie Bixler, 5-4 guard Tara Zammichieli and 5-9 forward Melissa Workman. Russo said this year's team is more athletic and balanced than last year. "We don't lose much at all when we substitute," said Russo, beginning his 12th season. Kacy Valentine, who was Kacy Williams when she starred at Hammond and later at Georgetown, is coaching the JV and helping at the combined JV-varsity practices. "We're a pretty good pair," Russo said. "She brings enthusiasm, knowledge of the game and youth. And when she talks, the kids listen." Valentine is Hammond's all-time assist leader (352) and fourth all-time scorer (1,193).

Howard Lions

1997-98 record: 9-14 overall, 6-12 league

Coach: Shannon Grieve

Top players: Stacey Swiney, 5-8, Sr., G; Kelly O'Neill, 5-8, Sr., F; Jenny Pattik, 5-10, Sr., F

Outlook: With four starters back, Grieve said she is "looking to improve on last year's record." To do that, the second-year coach has been stressing defense and intensity. The Lions return two of their top three scorers -- Swiney (13.8) and Pattik (10) -- and their second leading rebounder -- O'Neill (six). Swiney, the team's best outside shooter, "has really worked on her left hand," Grieve said. "She was strictly right last season. She's a more versatile player this time, and that's going to help us." Grieve, who hopes to get more inside scoring from O'Neill, said Pattik continues to improve the improvement that began last year. Pattik averaged 10 points last season and led the Lions in scoring in a number of games. Also expected to contribute are 6-3 freshman center Kim Pyne, 5-7 sophomore guard Taniesha Hardy, 5-3 senior guard Beth Hasiuk and 5-9 sophomore forward Lindsay Frank. Grieve was been impressed with Pyne's play. "She big and tough," Grieve said. "We're looking for her to rebound and score points inside." Hasiuk started last year along with Swiney, O'Neill and Pattick. Grieve, who is carrying five seniors, five sophomores and one freshman, said the team's strength is defense. Offensively, she wants to "reduce the number of turnovers. That's are main goal this year."

Long Reach Lightning

1997-98 record: 11-15 overall, 6-12 league

Coach: Shanya Evans

Top players: Thandi Howell, 5-3, Sr., G; Tamera Jackson, 6-1, Soph., F/C; Latoya Hines, 5-7, Sr., G/F; Sharetta Gross, 5-11, Sr., F/C

Outlook: After a winless inaugural season, the Lightning reached the Class 2A South region championship last year. "The kids have some experience at winning now," Evans said. "They understand what it takes, that they have to work hard and be consistent." And with five returning starters, Evans is confident Long Reach will win a lot more often this season. "I'm excited," Evans said. Howell is the leading returning scorer -- averaging nine points -- and Evans is looking for her to shoot more. Jackson averaged six rebounds last year, and she and Gross, who has recovered from last year's anterior-cruciate ligament injury, should give Long Reach a strong inside game. Hines is a solid overall player. She had 91 assists and 42 blocked shots last winter. Senior guards Demetria Hamilton (5-7) and Jeanean Allen (5-6) also will contribute. Hamilton started last winter, and Allen is back after not playing last season. Evans called Allen the team's "spark plug on defense" and the "key to our press. She's a terror on defense. Her intensity gets everyone else going." Evans said the Lightning has "a lot of weapons" offensively and ** that the team will continue to run as often as it can. Also contributing will be 5-6 sophomore guard Allison West, 5-9 junior forward Alaina Jackson and 5-7 junior guard Anna Gilbert.

Mount Hebron Vikings

1997-98 record: 13-10 overall, 9-9 league

Coach: Scott Robinson

Top players: Lauren Kickham, 5-10, Jr., C; Erin Jaschik, 5-11, Soph., F; Mia Molfino, 5-4, Sr., G; Bridget Frande, 5-7, Sr., G; Annie Collins, 5-8, Jr., F

Outlook: With five returning starters and some depth, Robinson looks to better last season's record. "We made a big improvement last season, and I think we will make more," Robinson said. "The chemistry is very good, and the girls always play hard." Kickham led the team last year in points (11.5) and rebounds (9.7). "She's very athletic and has improved her shooting," Robinson said. "She's a good player." Molfino was fifth in the county in three-point baskets (27) last winter, and she and Collins give the Vikings an outside threat. Frande "is the most improved player at this point," said Robinson. "She really played well in our last scrimmage." Jaschik "has a lot of experience for a sophomore," Robinson said, and is a skilled player. Robinson kept 13 on the varsity -- six seniors, five juniors and two sophomores. "There's very little difference in the 13 players," he said. Also contributing will be 5-7 senior guard Becca Ferrell, 5-5 senior guard Rachelle Giguere, 5-8 junior forward Jill Carr, 5-10 junior center Courtney Lombard and 5-7 sophomore forward Tiffany Randle. Robinson has been impressed with Randle's start. "She can create. She adds a new dimension we didn't have," Robinson said. "She takes the ball to the basket well."

Oakland Mills Scorpions

1997-98 record: 18-9 overall, 10-8 league

Coach: Kim Rosado

Top players: Rayna DeBose, 6-1, Soph., C; Jessica Oster, 5-9, Sr., G; Tasha Brooks, 5-9, Sr., G; Heather Romich, 6-0, Jr., F

Outlook: The Scorpions won the Class 1A state title last year but lost much of that squad, including the coach. Rosado, who has never coached basketball, takes over for Teresa Waters, who left after 17 seasons and now is at River Hill. The Scorpions still have height. "That's our strength right now," said Rosado, who also coaches volleyball. Leading the way is DeBose, who blocked a league-leading 108 shots last year and averaged eight rebounds. She also had a game-high 14 points in the state title victory over Williamsport. "She knows what to do out there," Rosado. Oster tore an anterior-cruciate ligament during the summer and is rehabilitating. Rosado said Oster, who made 20 three-pointers last year, could be back later this month but for sure by January. Brooks will be the team's point guard. "I'm very happy with her progress," Rosado said. "She can handle the ball well." Rosado said Romich has worked hard and "taken a leadership role" on the team. The Scorpions have four seniors who didn't play last winter but have at least a year of JV experience: 5-7 guard Heidl Hasenauer, 6-2 forward Lezette Pearsall, 5-10 forward Sabrina Altema and 5-5 guard Meghan Riley. Melissa Singleton, a former basketball and volleyball player who graduated Oakland Mills in 1994, is coaching the JV and assisting Rosado. Rosado said Singleton, who will graduate from UMBC in two weeks with a psychology degree and is getting married in July, has been valuable. "I'm learning from her, more than the other way around," Rosado said.

River Hill Hawks

1997-98 record: 12-13 overall, 9-9 league

Coach: Teresa Waters

Top players: Greeba Outen, Soph., G/F; Keiko Miller, 6-2, Soph., C; Cristin Etheridge, 6-0, Sr., F/C; Hope Zelinger, 5-8, Jr., G; Kristi Parco, 5-9, Jr., G

Outlook: After 17 seasons at Oakland Mills, Waters takes over at the third-year school. "I'm optimistic," said Waters, whose new team plays at Oakland Mills Dec. 18. "There is a lot of talent on this team, but there is a lot of work ahead. They have to continue to work hard and improve their work ethics daily." Outen, the leading returning scorer, is out with an injured back. She hopes to be back this month. Miller, a transfer from Atlanta, sprained her left ankle Nov. 21 and is not expected to return for two weeks. Miller played in Atlanta last year but came to this area in the summer when her fatherwas transfered. He was transfered again to Louisville, Ky., and Miller attended school there this fall for two weeks before going to River Hill. "We had a family meeting, and we decided I would have a better chance of being recruited if I came to River Hill," said Miller, who lives here with her mother, Deborah Tate. Said Waters: "She brings an inside game to the team. She's big, runs the floor well, has good inside moves and can catch the ball." Etheridge had surgery last spring to repair a torn anterior-cruciate ligament and is ready to go. Also expected to contribute will be 5-5 senior guard Leah Jones, 5-3 sophomore guard Maria Masciantonio, 5-5 sophomore guard Rashida Walcott and 5-6 freshman guard Ashley Hooper. "This team is not going to revolve around one or two players," Waters said. "Everyone has to be a contributing factor."

Wilde Lake Wildecats

1997-98 record: 23-3 overall, 18-0 league

Coach: Kelly Storr

Top players: Bryanna Herring, 6-0, Jr., C; Nicole Roy-Harrison, 5-8, Soph., F; Sara Taliano, 5-6, Soph., G; Sarah Hobert, 5-6, Soph., G

Outlook: The Wildecats have won three straight county titles -- they shared it with Centennial two years ago. But this will be "a rebuilding year," said Storr. Wilde Lake graduated six seniors, including five starters and three All-County team members. Herring, Roy-Harrison, Taliano and Hobert are the only players back. "Even though they didn't start, they have brought with them the work ethic of last year's team," said Storr, who is carrying one senior, five juniors, five sophomores and one freshman. Herring is a strong inside player, and averaged nine points and almost 10 rebounds last year. Roy-Harrison and Taliano have improved, Storr said, and are playing well. Hobert, the team's point guard, is recovering from an anterior-cruciate ligament injury, and Storr expects her back after the holiday break. Melissa Wiltshire, a 5-9 junior forward who played on Hammond's varsity last season, is now at Wilde Lake and will contribute. Two sophomores that did play last year -- 5-6 guard/forward Charity Stone and 5-9 forward/center Tanae Jenifer will help, as will two juniors up from the JV -- 5-10 forward Maggie Douglas and 5-4 guard Nina Jackson. "We'll be competitive," Storr said. "I hope that every time we leave a gym -- win or lose -- that it's been a struggle for the other team." Storr also said the team "is eager to learn" and wants to "create [its] own identity."

Pub Date: 12/03/98

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