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Francis Scott Key basketball off to sizzling start

 Francis Scott Key girls basketball coach Jennifer Gosselin had heard about those classic “worst-to-first” kind of seasons, but only from afar.

Francis Scott Key girls basketball coach Jennifer Gosselin had heard about those classic "worst-to-first" kind of seasons, but only from afar.

The coach had never experienced that kind of situation — at least until this season, when the unbeaten Eagles (5-0, 3-0 county) have executed a full reverse pivot after going 2-21 last season and winless in 14 county games.

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It's the best start since 2000-01 for the Eagles, who have four starters averaging in double figures.

There have been a lot of lean years in between — FSK dropped its final 16 games of last season — and Gosselin's teams have never reached the .500 mark in her eight seasons at the helm. Her best record was 11-12 in 2013-14.

During that stretch, the Eagles have won only one playoff game.

"Everyone is interested in us now," Gosselin said. "People are saying, 'How are you doing it?' We have always been the team where people don't take us seriously. Players from other teams have told my players, 'We didn't really practice hard for you because we expect to beat you.'"

Gosselin said the main reason for the Eagles' success is the fact that team's "vibe is so different."

The players, particularly seniors Korey Fine and Heather Rohwein, didn't let last season's struggles drag them down this winter and Gosselin raves about the leadership they've shown.

"It has so much to do with the attitudes of these girls and they are so positive," Gosselin said. "They are such good role models off and on the court. I have so many young players and they are learning from them. They are pumping each other up."

The 5-foot-7 Fine anchors the backcourt as a four-year starter while Rohwein, a 5-5 combo guard who sat out last season, started as both a freshman and sophomore.

"They are used to playing together," Gosselin said of her two seniors. "They play field hockey together, too. They had a really good season in field hockey this year — a winning season — and it just carried over."

Fine's mother, Lydia, an assistant coach the past four seasons, agrees.

In the words of Korey Fine, Francis Scott Key is prepared to get some "Dubs" this season.

"They were both captains on the field hockey team and they are just taking that leadership right into our team," Lydia Fine said.

Korey Fine gives the Eagles consistent play at point guard as a solid two-way player, averaging 12.4 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.2 steals per game.

She totaled a season-high 12 assists in a 74-60 victory over host Liberty on Dec. 13 after adding 15 points and seven steals in a 52-33 conquest of Gerstell Academy a day earlier.

"Korey is one of the smartest players I have coached," Gosselin said. "She sees the floor so well and really understands the game. She is so good at getting the other girls involved. All they have to do is find the tiniest space and Korey will get them the ball."

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Fine will feed the ball often to Rohwein, who is averaging 12.4 points and 3.0 steals per outing, including a team-high 14 points in a 51-45 triumph over South Carroll on Dec. 9.

"Having her back is huge," Gosselin said of Rohwein. "She is so valuable to this team and the girls really look up to her."

Fine and Rohwein are joined in the lineup by two other returning starters, sophomore forwards Bailey Mathias and Kennedy Cornick, and sophomore guard Sara Warthen, a player promoted from last year's junior varsity team.

Mathias keyed the win over Liberty with an eye-catching 23 points.

That victory meant a lot to Gosselin, who has seen a slew of lopsided losses to the Lions in her tenure during which the Eagles are only 2-12 against Liberty.

"It felt so good to beat them," Gosselin said. "They also have tall girls that just run the floor well, and we just get eaten up."

Gosselin is also getting contributions from junior Joelle Snader, sophomore forward Emily Dell, and freshman guards Rachel Wright, Kirstin Kurtz, and Ashleigh Zepp.

"The young girls are really working well together," Lydia Fine said. "Their passing is good and they are really starting to work on boxing out. They are running the floor. We got speed this year we really haven't had that in the past. Teams we play are not used to seeing that from us."



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