Struggling Hammond tops younger Atholton, ends 6-game loss run; Raiders, starting soph, 3 frosh, lose 14th straight


Between them, Hammond and Atholton have won five of 25 games this season.

Hammond has lost three times by 30 or more points. Atholton has lost eight times by 30 or more points. The Raiders once lost by 60 and last month dropped consecutive games by 49, 40 and 50 points.

The first time Hammond played Atholton, the Golden Bears won by 38. They met again last night at Atholton, and nothing much has changed. Hammond routed the Raiders, 62-35.

"At first, [losing] was pretty hard," said Atholton sophomore Sarah Costa, who scored six points against the Golden Bears. "But now I've gotten used to it. If we lose, we lose. I can't do anything about it."

Atholton (1-15 overall, 0-12 league) has lost 14 straight. Hammond (4-10, 3-9) broke a six-game losing streak.

Hammond started three freshman, a sophomore and senior last night. The Golden Bears' youth -- six of their 10 players are freshmen and sophomores -- makes dealing with the losses a little easier.

"Even though we know we might lose, we want to try and do things better," said freshman guard Tara Zammichieli, who had three three-point baskets and 18 points. "We want to improve and maybe beat them next year."

Costa scored the first basket 19 seconds into the game, but that lead was Atholton's last. The Golden Bears scored 13 unanswered points, including two three-pointers from Zammichieli, and the rout was on.

Hammond freshman Melissa Workman scored on many breakaway layups and finished with 18 points. Her sister, Kelly, a senior, added 10.

"I think we played very good offensively, but defensively we could have done better," said Hammond coach Joe Russo. "We're getting better every game."

Offensively, Russo said the Golden Bears are "moving the ball and looking for the open shots. And we're running our transition game really well."

Hammond certainly created more scoring opportunities but also had more turnovers.

"We need to improve our control," Zammichieli said. "Sometimes we get a little bit out of control and turn the ball over."

Atholton coach Todd Kriner said his team's turnovers are down. But the Raiders certainly have their share of limitations, including height, shooting ability and defense.

"We can't make the easy shots," said Kriner. "And we don't have somebody [who] can carry us when we need it."

Kriner said the losing streak is "difficult, but you can't lose sight of what you want to accomplish. Our numbers are getting better every week."

And he admires his players for their continued hard work.

"I give them a lot of credit," Kriner said. "They come to work every day, and I respect that."

Atholton closed to within 35-23 with 3: 39 minutes left in the third quarter, when senior Erin Caffrey capped a 7-0 run with a three-pointer.

But 90 seconds later, Caffrey sprained an ankle and left the game, and Hammond used an 11-2 spurt to take a 46-25 lead into the final quarter.

Caffrey did not return but still led the Raiders with nine points.

Pub Date: 2/04/99

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