Looking at the rosters of the Old Mill and Meade girls basketball squads, the first adjective that comes to mind is youthful.
The Patriots roster includes only two seniors, veteran guards Denise Zellers and Sandy Johnson (out nursing a preseason thigh injury). The Mustangs also have only two seniors, first-year guards Tamieca Hamlin and Shamone Williams.
However, that's where the similarities end.
Undefeated host Old Mill (5-0, 2-0 in the 4A County Friendship Division) took advantage of a 20-9 first-quarter lead yesterday, sailing to a 70-31 victory over the Mustangs.
"No one player really played outstanding, but that's because we ran so many subs in and out, we didn't have any continuity," Old Mill head coach Pat Chance said. "But Stacy Himes did do a nice job of driving to the basket."
The sophomore guard led Old Mill with a game-high 21 points, while also snagging six rebounds. Zellers and Lee Ann Lezzer pitched in eight points each for the winners.
Two minutes into the game, overmatched Meade (1-5, 0-3 in division play) held a brief 4-2 lead, thanks to Adrian Toles' follow-up and Amy Neff's 15-foot bank shot. But a three-point play by Debbie Dawson, plus consecutive buckets from Himes and Zellers, gave the Pats a 9-4 lead at 5:20.
Toles finished with six points and eight rebounds for the Mustangs, Neff with five points.
"Overall, we just made too many mistakes," Meade coach Molly Wilson said. "We didn't play good defense, we made freshman and sophomore mistakes, and we gave up way too many easy outside shots."
For most of the first half, Old Mill smothered the Mustangs with a full-court press, forcing Meade into numerous turnovers. By the time Chance had called the press off, the Patriots had built a 31-11 bulge, which eventually turned into a 38-15 lead at the half.
"Last week, we lost three straight games (Glen Burnie, Westminster, and Arundel). I think three games in one week is just a little too much. You don't get the chance to improve," Wilson said. "Luckily, we're not playing in any tournaments over the holidays. The girls need a good stretch of practice time, plus a little rest.
The Mustangs' longest run came during the middle of the third quarter, as Vonita Pinkett (team-high eight points and eight rebounds) scored on a layup and freshman point guard Angie Bailey converted a layup and a running, off-balance jumper, making the score 42-21.
But the hosts then ran off 10 unanswered points in less than three minutes, Himes contributing six of them.
"Although we won by a sizable margin, there weren't a whole lot of good things to say about my team," said Chance. "I know we're going to have to improve on a lot of things in the next couple of days. We have to play at Arundel (3-2) on Thursday; they are going to be tough. Plus we have the Noel Classic (at Archbishop Spalding Dec. 27-29) coming up. They'll be some good competition there. We'll have to play a lot better defense, and we'll have to improve our rebounding and shooting. But you can't complain too much about a win."
Said Wilson, "I knew we were going to take our lumps early this season.
But I'm not worried yet. Like I said earlier, we're very young and inexperienced, and the mistakes we're making are due to those factors. I was impressed with Adrienne's play. She finally came to play, and she's only going to get better.
"We want to get better step by step," she added. "We know that it won't be easy, but I know we'll come around sooner or later."