Having lost nearly 75 percent of his offense to graduation, Severna Park girls basketball coach Kevin McGrath says his team needs to "score by committee, rebound by committee, win by committee."
The Falcons managed all three yesterday, overcoming a rash of fouls and poor shooting to prevail, 51-41, over visiting Broadneck and snap a five-game losing streak against their 4A League rival.
Severna Park (2-1 overall, 1-0 league) pushed the ball up court at every opportunity against the taller Bruins, whose starting front line features three girls 6 feet and taller. The results weren't always favorable -- 19-of-79 shooting (24 percent) and 27 turnovers -- but it's a style of play McGrath deems necessary.
"We want to play the fast pace, make no mistake about it," he said. "I think I have better athletes than most of the teams we're going to play. We do not have some of the shooters that some of these other clubs have, and we definitely don't have the height that some of these other clubs have.
But we're working on turning those disadvantages into advantages."
With Severna Park lacking anyone over 5-foot-11, McGrath has moved certain players closer to the basket. Yesterday, the Falcons wound up with a surprising 50-41 edge in rebounding.
"We've been having trouble (rebounding) from Day 1 this year," he said.
"We don't have much height. We have kids who can run. We made an adjustment, and the last two ballgames we're starting to come around a little bit."
Broadneck coach Bruce Springer, whose team only led once (2-0), said, "I knew they'd bang us around quite a bit. It was the only way they could have stayed with us on the boards."
Senior point guard Tami Riley led Severna Park with 19 points, despite picking up her third foul and having to leave the game with 3 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the first half. Sophomore Lori Sharpless and senior Lori Habicht added eight points each. Senior Tina Riley had a game-high 13 rebounds, including 11 in the first half.
Despite losing four starters to graduation, including Anne Arundel County Sun Player of the Year Tammy Brown (21.7 ppg), the Bruins had won their first two games. Both victories came against 4A League opponents -- Glen Burnie and Meade.
The loss of Brown and fellow guards Betsy Given and Stacie Conroy was most telling against the smaller, quicker Falcons, whose full-court press and constant double-teaming on defense forced Broadneck into 15-of-58 shooting (26 percent) and 32 turnovers.
"The guards are young," Springer said. "They've improved a lot, they're learning. But they still have a ways to go. They get flustered."
"I saw from the beginning that the quicker they come along, the more we're going to improve, and I thought we were coming along pretty well. But we hadn't played a team that was quite as intense as Severna Park was."
The Falcons' defense collapsed inside and dared the Bruins to hit from the perimeter, which they could not manage with any consistency. They also struggled from the foul line, going 11-for-32.
Six-foot senior Andrea Macey netted 20 points, including Broadneck's last five of the game. Junior Michelle Meyer, one of the inexperienced guards Springer is hoping will develop quickly, added 12 points.
Theresa Cornish, a 6-3 senior, had eight blocks, but only four points.
Jen Chapman (6-1) was limited to five points.
Severna Park committed 29 fouls overall, compared to 14 for Broadneck.
But none of the Falcons picked up their fifth infraction.