When Edgewood girls basketball coach Fred Hammett saw Lemaire Dargan in mid-November, the last thing he expected was for the senior to be back on the court anytime soon.
Just two weeks before, Dargan was in a four-car accident in Bel Air that left her with a sprained ankle, a hairline fracture in her hip, along with back and neck problems.
A doctor told Dargan, 17, that she might be sidelined until early February.
"Just watching her walk was painful," said Hammett, who is in his first year as varsity coach after two seasons of leading the Rams' JV. "She was on crutches and walking so awkwardly. It wasn't pretty."
Already disappointed that she missed the end of volleyball season, Dargan - a four-year varsity member - went to physical therapy five days a week, constantly applied ice and heat to her back and hip, and worked to maintain her physical conditioning.
She felt much better by the time December rolled around.
"I gave [the doctor] a pep talk and told him that I can do this," said Dargan. "Therapy helped me a lot and my family really boosted me up. I just wanted to come back and help my team.
Dargan, a 5-foot-6 guard, returned in time for her team's second game, on Dec. 12. She scored a team-high nine points in a 42-36 loss to Fallston, and she's been a factor ever since.
Dargan, whose younger sister Keyanna, a sophomore, is the Rams' leading scorer, is averaging about seven points a game but plays a bigger role as the team's defensive stopper.
Hammett said the Rams (10-5) draw motivation from Dargan.
"It's just a miracle that I survived [the accident], but also the way I came back so soon," said Dargan, who plans on playing both basketball and volleyball at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore next year. "My mother told me that most people aren't as tough as I am."
HdG shocks Aberdeen
Havre de Grace's 49-47 boys basketball win over Aberdeen on Friday night was remarkable for a lot of reasons.
For one, Aberdeen beat the Warriors by 30 points just three weeks ago and seemed well on its way to another convincing victory on Friday with a 10-point third-quarter lead.
But the Warriors went to a box- and-one defense on the Eagles' Phillip Brown, and Jeff Shivers scored seven of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to lead his team back.
Havre de Grace (6-8, 2-5 league) won for just the second time since Dec. 27 and knocked the Eagles (8-5, 5-1) out of sole position of first place in the top division of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.
It was Havre de Grace's first victory over Aberdeen in Warriors coach Johnny Brooks' eight years.
"We've lost three starters and I want these kids to know they can win if they just play together and as hard as they can, not worrying about who's here and who isn't here," said Brooks.
Standout in pool
Havre de Grace junior Joe Bringardner has been on a roll for the Warriors' swim team.
Bringardner has six first-place finishes and two seconds in his past eight individual races. He's also been on relay teams that have taken first place in five of eight races during that span.
That three-meet stretch includes individual wins in the 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 200 individual medley.
When the new year started, Harford Tech's girls basketball team was 0-4. The Cobras boys squad, which started the season with increased expectations, weren't faring much better at 2-4.
But both teams have turned things around and are in good position for a shot at the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Susquehanna Division title.
The boys (9-5, 6-0) have won seven of eight games, losing only in that stretch to No. 16 Bel Air.
The girls, winners of six of their past eight, have improved to 6-6 overall, 5-1 in the league.
National signing day
The National Letter of Intent signing period, where athletes acknowledge acceptance of scholarships to NCAA Division I or II programs, starts Wednesday. The signing period, which extends through Nov. 19, is for field hockey, soccer and water polo.
To report a signing, athletes or coaches are encouraged to call 410-332-6630 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Edgewood wrestling tournament, which was supposed to finish on Jan. 24 but was postponed because of the weather, will conclude on Saturday. ... Edgewood coach Tony Cole said the first Aberdeen-Edgewood boys basketball game - postponed twice - will not be made up. Tuesday will be the teams' only meeting.