None of the St. Paul's girls basketball players ranks among the area's leading scorers, but that doesn't matter.
Defense makes all the difference for the top team in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference. The Gators allow just 29 points a game, and that has fueled an 18-0 start with wins last week over then-No. 12 Severn and A Conference foe McDonogh.
"I think our defense is really good," said Gators coach Jim Stromberg, who is known for developing stingy defensive teams. "We're not pressing a lot now because we don't have enough kids, but our half-court [man-to-man] is really good."
The Gators, who jumped into this week's poll at No. 10, lost their post players for the season - 6-foot-3 Bailey Webster, who is now enrolled at Texas; 5-foot-10 Kelly Cunningham, who has a broken foot; and 5-foot-8 Maria Kafarakis, who has medical issues. They're down to nine players, but they win with five guards on the floor.
Iliana Sanza leads the Gators with 11.2 points and more than five steals per game. Sam Murray averages 10 points and Janelle Fleet nine. The team scores about 46 points a game.
Millers overcome injury
For some area basketball teams, losing their starting point guard at midseason would be a devastating blow. But the Milford Mill boys haven't missed a beat.
The Millers lost senior Robbie Tucker to injury late last month, inserting fellow starting guard Joshua Glascoe at the point. The team had won six straight - including victories last week over fellow Baltimore County 4A-3A front-runners Dulaney and Patapsco and yesterday's win over Catonsville.
"I knew we were deep, but I didn't know quite how the team would respond," coach Albert Holley said. "Josh has really stepped right in, without me even asking him to, and taken over the point."
Aside from Glascoe, the Millers have gotten key contributions from senior guard Xavier Drake, their most consistent player during Holley's three years at the helm, as well as a surprising pair of sophomores in forward Tevin Hanner and guard Isaiah McCray.
Hitting 100 wins
Terrence Owens has become the first wrestler in Milford Mill history to win 100 career matches. The senior owes his milestone to hard work, coach Damon Royster said.
"It's just his commitment," Royster said. "He works hard, and he's dedicated not just to wrestling but to the overall program itself."