Glen Burnie girls basketball coach Colleen Stauffer dispensed with the usual post-game rhetoric after yesterday's season-opener and instead talked forestry.
"They got their trees working," she said of visiting Broadneck, "and we just didn't have enough trees to go with them."
The two-time defending 4A state champions needed those "trees" -- namely 6-footers Theresa Cornish, Andrea Macey and Jennifer Chapman -- to shake the pesky Gophers and emerge victorious, 46-29, after trailing, 6-3, through one quarter.
The Bruins had more turnovers (15) than points (14) after the first half. Only the Gophers' 4-of-19 shooting allowed the Bruins to take a 14-10 lead into the locker room. They also held a slim 21-16 edge in rebounding at halftime, despite Glen Burnie's tallest player, Melissa Schaffer, standing a mere 5-9.
"It wasn't real pretty," said Bruins coach Bruce Springer.
At least not until the second half, when the Broadneck guards began feeding the ball inside with more consistency, and the Gophers' frontcourt -- which also was composed of 5-6 Lee Mallonee and 5-7 Christy Hutson -- finally withered.
"At halftime we went back and re-emphasized what we needed to do against this team," said Springer, whose Bruins committed 26 turnovers. "I had the feeling that maybe we felt this would be easy, that we could do what we wanted to do, and this would be an easy win. But they gave us all they had."
What Stauffer didn't have was her top player, 5-9 senior Kelly Wagner, who recently sprained her left ankle in a scrimmage against North County.
But she wasn't looking for excuses afterward, just the appropriate words of praise for her young team.
"I don't think our girls have anything at all to be ashamed of," she said. "They played with extreme intensity. If they play like this every game, we're going to show some people that Glen Burnie is a force to be reckoned with."
Macey said, "We came out here, and the guards were so nervous they were shaking. After the first half, the nerves disappeared and they got into the game."
And so did Macey, who scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the second half. She also had 12 rebounds -- nine after intermission.
Junior forward Ava Tasker added seven points off the bench. Cornish and Chapman had six apiece, and the pair combined for 17 rebounds.
Mallonee led Glen Burnie with eight points. Schaffer, who fouled out with 1 minute, 43 seconds left, and sophomore Kelly Rodgers each had six points. Christy Hutson pulled down a team-leading nine rebounds.
"We looked more like a team today than we did last year," said Rodgers, a member of the 1989-1990 edition that won seven games and was beaten by Old Mill in the region quarterfinals. "This gives us confidence going into the rest of the season."
Springer was encouraged by his team's strong finish -- it rallied to shoot nearly 40 percent, compared to 29 percent for Glen Burnie -- after a less-than-auspicious start.
"We'll cut down on the turnovers and bad passes," he said. "There were a lot of first-game jitters for some of those guards playing their first varsity game."
Like junior Michelle Meyer, who alternates with Talaya Williams at the point now that standouts Betsy Given, Tammy Brown and Stacie Conroy have graduated.
"I'm inexperienced on varsity, and it will take a little while for us to get used to each other," she said. "The coaches aren't pressuring us at all. They know we're a new team."