Recent injuries will test the depth of top-ranked River Hill's and eighth-ranked Mount Hebron's girls basketball teams when they begin regional quarterfinal play Monday.
The most serious injury was to Mount Hebron senior guard Annie Collins, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee with five seconds remaining in last Thursday's three-point loss to River Hill. A four-year starter, Collins led the team in assists and three-point baskets and was one of its top defensive players.
The Vikings, who are seeded second in the Class 2A South region, also might be without sophomore point guard Julie Napolitano. Napolitano suffered a mild concussion and tore a ligament in the middle finger of her left hand while playing for her Maryland under-16 Olympic Development Program soccer team in the ODP national championship game Sunday in Phoenix.
"The doctor said I should be out for three weeks, but I'm going to try and be back for the playoffs," said Napolitano, who hopes to practice tomorrow. "It's really frustrating."
If Napolitano can't play, the Vikings enter the playoffs without their starting backcourt. In Tuesday's 52-29 victory at Wilde Lake, Mount Hebron started senior forward Lauren Kickham at point guard and freshman forward Kristen Waagbo at shooting guard.
River Hill played Tuesday's 51-38 victory over Howard without leading scorers Greeba Outen-Barlow and Keiko Miller-Tate. Both suffered sprained ankles on Monday. Outen-Barlow, averaging 16.5 points a game, fell down basement steps Monday morning at home, and Miller-Tate (averaging 14) injured her right ankle later that day in practice.
River Hill coach Teresa Waters said she hopes to have both for the playoffs but wasn't sure yesterday when either player would return.
"I'm concerned," said Waters, whose team will play the winner of tomorrow's Class 3A East region opening-round game between Northeast-AA and Wilde Lake. "We're in the toughest region."
Miller-Tate missed nearly six weeks at the beginning of last season when she sprained the same ankle. "It's a second-degree sprain, like last year's, but I don't know if it is as bad," Miller-Tate said.
Waters said she was "very proud" of the way her squad played against Howard without its top scorers.
Guards Rashida and Fana Walcott were the catalysts. Rashida, a junior, had 11 points, six steals, three assists and six rebounds and Fana, a freshman point guard, contributed six points, eight steals, three assists and seven rebounds. Seniors Kristi Parco and Lisa Humphrey had 12 and six points, respectively.
River Hill freshman forward Megan Buescher, who traveled to Phoenix on Friday to play soccer for a club team, came off the bench and scored four points.