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High School sports

Anne Arundel 2022-23 girls basketball preview: In young, competitive county, Glen Burnie and Old Mill likely to battle for supremacy

Old Mill and Glen Burnie, seen playing against each other in a playoff game in February, should be two of the top teams in Anne Arundel County during 2022-23 girls basketball season.

Glen Burnie fully intends to pick up right where it left off.

The Gophers checked so many boxes in the history column, crafting an undefeated season for the first time while picking up regular season and county championship titles as well as a regional title. Then, the end came too soon — falling to Western in the Class 4A state semifinal.

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So, that’s two more boxes coach Sam Porter, Player of the Year Amourie Porter — now a senior — and the rest of the returners plan to check: making it to the state final, and winning it. Sam Porter believes his team, with added playmakers, is disciplined enough to do it.

But as for who they’ll have to dispatch before then?

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“To be honest, our conference is deep,” Porter said. “So that can be any team.”

Glen Burnie's Amourie Porter shoots the ball during the second half of last season's regional final against Old Mill. The Gophers and Patriots are expected to again be two of Anne Arundel County's top girls basketball teams as the new season sets to start.

Coaches generally concur that Glen Burnie is the goal post — which is easy to see with a Division I senior that single-handedly, at times, pulled her team to victory. But only as the weeks turn colder will it become clear who’ll challenge them.

County teams will only play one game against each other that’ll count toward the Anne Arundel standings, placing more significance on every single play made night by night.

Old Mill’s freshmen rocked the county in 2019-20 then endured the pandemic in 2020-21 and the rise of the Gophers in 2021-22. The Patriots’ rookies are grown — including 6-foot-3 2019-20 Player of the Year Amani “Baby Shaq” Watts. With that group facing its last opportunity to reach their goals, coach Henry Fuller expects Old Mill to regain its standing as the county’s best team — which includes becoming the biggest thorn in the side of the team that beat them four times last year.

“[We’re] looking to complete what our goals were last year — to be county champs and go to states,” Fuller said. “We’ve picked up a few more pieces and are looking forward to see if we can make that run.”

Severn's Madison Tryon looks to dish the ball to a teammate as she's swarmed by a trio of Crofton opponents, from left, Maeve Bill, Cora Shafer, and Emma Beyer during a girls basketball game at Crofton High School on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021.

Crofton coach Jonathan Mason, who began Glen Burnie’s resurgence as its coach in 2019, hopes to see the Cardinals take a next step. Severna Park coach Kristofer Dean foresees his freshmen-filled Falcons, which graduated a leader in Theresa Bragg among others, concentrate its strengths by the postseason.

Broadneck, which knocked Severna Park from the playoffs in February, is skewing towards inexperience as well, something only fixed if its younger players embrace the adversity. That, coach Juan McKinney expects will derive from its energetic and high-level defense.

South River features as many key underclassmen as it does veterans. The difference should come with the Seahawks’ length, size and depth, coach Mike Zivic surmises.

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“If we can play with consistency we can be dangerous,” Zivic said. “If we don’t, then we will be middle of the pack in the county.”

Chesapeake intends to emphasize defense, alongside size and speed. Coach Maria Gray knew for a while she’d be welcoming a sizable freshman class and expects their blend with her older players will help carry over the momentum the Cougars brewed late last winter.

South River's Reagan Ogle attempts a shot against North County's Brianna Thomas during the third quarter of an high school basketball game, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, in Edgewater, Md. (Terrance Williams for The Capital Gazette)

Defense is a weapon Meade intends to use as well, but it’ll be one the Mustangs can only utilize with faith, new coach Cat Harmon said.

“We will be tough defensively, but we need to come out of our shell and trust ourselves offensively,” she said. “We’ll see a range of play this season, as usual. Some teams who’ve been together longer and have that established team chemistry and culture while other teams, like us, who have had coaching changes and are working to establish those things.”

Northeast coach Michael Parker similarly hopes his team will construct a foundation of trust this winter as it continues to rebuild, especially with 2022 Girls Athlete of the Year and speedy three-sport athlete Caitlyn Cornwell at the helm.

“As a team, they are all buying in on helping change the culture of this program,” Parker said.

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Southern set loftier goals than it achieved last winter, coach Beth Tompkins said, taking an early playoff exit against Century. Fueled by chemistry, the Bulldogs plan to avenge that while some adjust to new roles.

“Our team has a challenging schedule this season, but expectations are high,” Tompkins said. “We returned experienced players from last season and added a few key pieces.”

Arundel graduated a true playmaker in Heather Middleton and comprise of members as green as their uniforms. Growth, coach Lee Rogers said, is the goal.

Indian Creek’s Abbey Bunker stretches for a ball controlled by Park’s Tori Gorboro in the first quarter of a game on Feb. 8.

Archbishop Spalding brings in a familiar face in first-year coach Aanika O’Connor, who served as Meade’s coach for a number of years. Though her squad returns three starters, O’Connor anticipates competitiveness will derive from her group’s desire to improve each day.

In the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference, Severn, though coming off losing seasons, strive to make it to the playoffs this winter — and reaching consistency is the key, per new coach Jim Stromberg.

The Admirals’ rival St. Mary’s benefits from a tad more experience. Players like leading scorer Baily Walden and Tara Haffelfinger have made such an impact over the past few seasons that coach Chuck Miller believes their stewardship combined with talented newcomers will assemble a formidable squad.

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In the C Conference, Indian Creek coach Casey Corkin anticipates the same kind of prowess as time passes, but only if the limited squad can avoid injury and illness.

“Offensively, we have a strong post game with seniors Haley Selmer and Molly Bunker,” Corkin said. “If we get strong guard play from senior Avery Barnhill and sophomore Abbey Bunker — and we can stay healthy — we will be a tough team to beat in our conference at the end of the year.”

Key is playing a nonleague schedule this winter with the hopes of returning the C Conference next season. The turnout the Obezags experienced this year is a step forward in the growth that’ll bring them there.

Here’s a quick look at the Anne Arundel teams. Editor’s note: Not all teams responded to requests for information.

Old Mill’s Amani Watts shoots in the fourth quarter during a game last season against Meade.

Annapolis

Last season: 0-19

Coach: Henry Meiklejohn, first season

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Top players: N/A

Annapolis Area Christian School

Coach: Olivia Eggleston, second season

Top players: N/A

Archbishop Spalding

Last season: 3-11

Coach: Aanika O’Connor, first season

Top players: Senior Mariah Sanabia (G/F); sophomore Whitley Watkins (F)

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Arundel

Last season: 13-11

Coach: Lee Rogers, 32nd season

Top players: Seniors Jordan Glover; sophomores Jessica Gotshall, Logan Ferrell, Jolie Hamilton and Janiyah Sherrill

Broadneck

Last season: 9-12

Coach: Juan McKinney, fourth season

Top players: Seniors Addison Hurst, Naveah Dowell and Arianna Jeffries; juniors Mackenzie Wharton, Samantha Miller and Ginger Kerdock; sophomore London Best

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Chesapeake

Last season: 9-14

Coach: Maria Gray, ninth season

Top players: Seniors Ella Shannon (PG/G), Natalie Foreman (G/F) and Madison Kelly (G); juniors Kasey Slade (C) and Ava Arruda (PG/G).

Crofton's Cora Shafer watches as she fires a successful free throw against Severn during a girls basketball game last season.

Crofton

Last season: 12-10

Coach: Jonathan Mason, third season

Top players: Senior Cora Shafer (F); junior Lily Maher (G); sophomore Vanessa Carmichael (G)

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Glen Burnie

Last season: 22-1

Coach: Sam Porter, second season

Top players: Seniors Amourie Porter, Lania Nick, Layla Washington and Aisha Soumaoro

Key

Last season: 3-9

Coach: Alexis Lyers, second season

Top players: Juniors Meredith Rizek (G) and Maya VanAlstine (G); freshmen Cierra Ploof (G/F), Joie Brewer (F), Jane Edwards (F), Maya Kirshtein (F), Danielle Nunyi (F) and Lara Michaels (G)

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Indian Creek

Last season: 10-10

Coach: Casey Corkin, second season

Top players: Seniors Haley Selmer (F), Avery Barnhill (G) and Molly Bunker (F); junior Elia Alewine (G); sophomore Abbey Bunker (G)

Meade

Last season: 11-6

Coach: Cat Harmon, first season

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Top players: Juniors Evhan Smith, Kennedy House and Naomi Williams; sophomore Jamine Dailey

North County

Last season: 4-9

Coach: Ciarra Lucas, second season

Top players: N/A

Northeast

Last season: 1-16

Coach: Michael Parker, second season

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Top players: Senior Caitlyn Cornwell (G); juniors Julia Fox (C), Maggie Lawrence and Faith Schmitz (G/F)

Old Mill

Last season: 16-4

Coach: Henry Fuller, second season

Top players: Seniors Neveah Brown (PG/SG), Amaya Douglas (SG/SF), NyAsia Futrell (PG/SG) and Amani Watts (C/F); sophomore Jermirah Brown (SG/F); freshman MaKenzie Singletary (PG)

Severn

Last season: 6-17

Coach: Jim Stromberg, first season

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Top players: Seniors Madison Vernon (G), Emma Ripley (F), Morgan Ryan (F), Megan Murphy (G), Madison Tryon (G), Melissa Mazuranic (F) and Isabel Zurowski (F); junior Nyela Djossun (F)

Severna Park

Last season: 12-9

Coach: Kristofer Dean, sixth season

Top players: Seniors Hanna Verreault, Lilly Spilker, Abby Kavanagh and Karli Kirchenheiter

South River

Last season: 16-6

Coach: Mike Zivic, 15th season

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Top players: Seniors Calen Norton (G) Erin McGaha (F), Delany Leggans (F) and Cate LaTour (G); juniors Campbell Werwie (F) and Maggie Groves (G/F); sophomore Karlee Hawkins (G/F), Reagan Ogle (G), Ryleigh Adams (G/F), Sami Clarke (G/F) and Skylar Woodyard (G); freshmen Keira West (G) and Leila Bushee (G)

St. Mary’s Tara Heffelfinger attempts a three-pointer in the third quarter. The St. Mary's Saints defeated Notre Dame Prep Blazers girls basketball, 49-45, in a IAAM B Conference quarterfinals matchup, February 15, 2022.

Southern

Last season: 11-10

Coach: Beth Tompkins, second season

Top players: Seniors Kate Seymour (G), Angelia Huggins (G), Jordan Wheeler (F) and Ashlynn Deans (G); juniors Ava Wooster (F), Sidney Shaw (G), Gabrielle Tompkins (G), Alissa Jacks (F), Presley Marks (G) and Mandi Mulhern (G); sophomore Charlotte Green (G); freshman Marley Shaw (F)

St. Mary’s

Last season: 11-9, IAAM B Conference semifinalists

Coach: Chuck Miller, sixth season

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Top players: Senior Tara Haffelfinger; junior Baily Walden (G); freshmen Bailey Harris, Alexandra Vandiver and Gabby Mitchell


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