Their playing styles and personalities could not be more different, but the one common denominator linking Northeast's 5-foot-11 Stephanie Lazor and 5-10 Debbi Dadds is productivity on the basketball court.
The similarity there is uncanny.
Lazor is averaging 17 points and 16 rebounds a game for the Eagles, who lost to Mount Hebron of Howard County in the 2A state semifinals last year. Dadds also is in double figures in both categories, averaging nearly 14 points and 18 rebounds.
Together, they've allowedNortheast to withstand the graduation of its leading scorer, Monica Everett, and early-season injuries to its backcourt, and post an 8-5 record going into Friday's rematch with Southern. The Bulldogs edged the Eagles in overtime, 45-43, earlier this month.
Their statistics tend to mirror each other. In the semifinals of last month's Arundel Holiday Tournament, Lazor and Dadds had 21 and 20 points, respectively, in a 60-21 victory over Edgewood of Harford County. In the next day's finals, Dadds grabbed 19 rebounds and Lazor 18 in a 55-51 loss to the host Wildcats.
They each scored 18 points in an earlier, 47-25 win over North East of Cecil County. Lazor also had 18 rebounds, three more than Dadds.
"It just happens, I guess," Lazor, a senior, said of the comparable numbers. "I don't care whether she scores 21points or 30 points, and I score seven. To me, that's helping the team out. I don't compete against her at all."
Instead, they blend their talents to help form one of the most productive and respected frontcourts in the county.
"We talk a lot out on the floor and it just seems we're able to work together," Dadds said.
Dadds' strengthboth amazes and amuses her teammates. She's been known to bench-press 150 pounds during workouts.
"I can do around 40 pounds," Lazor said, laughing.
That's OK -- Dadds will tell you she envies Lazor'snatural ability on the court.
"It feels like I have to work a lotharder than she does, but she's better than me," Dadds said. "She has more experience and she's just so calm about everything. For me, I have to work as hard as I can just to achieve what she does at a common pace."
That hard work pays off when muscling her way underneaththe basket, where she collects the majority of her points. Lazor is more likely to bounce outside and bury a one-hand set shot, or free herself with a quick fake and drive to the hoop.
"What I find unique about them is they have a lot in common, but they're two totally different players," said Northeast coach Calvin Vain. "Dadds is strength and power, she does everything with a fierceness. Steph is fluid, grace and finesse."
"They're two different type rebounders, too," he said. "I haven't had a player who wanted the offensive rebound likeDebbi. You can teach and teach, and some kids don't see it, don't connect. Deb understands she can score 10 points off other people's shots.
"Steph is the opposite type rebounder. She's a position player. She follows the flow of the shots and knows the shooter so well -- she's kind of an intellect of the game -- that she knows this one's going to shoot long and this one's going to be a little short."
Colleen Stauffer has seen her Glen Burnie team lose twice to the Eagles this season. Lazor totaled 36 points and 31 rebounds in the two games, and Dadds had 30 points and 46 rebounds.
"We tried to be sure the ball didn't get in to them," Stauffer said, "but they used their guards to bang the ball off the boards and Lazor and Dadds would rebound and put it back in. It's hard to defend against that."
Lazor wasn't expected to contribute much early in the season after tearing a ligament in her right knee while hurdling North East catcher Tracie Kennedy and scoring the first run of the 2A state softball finals last spring. The Eagles secured the championship with a 3-0 win.
"I wasgoing to try and bring her along slowly, but that went out the door," Vain said.
"I told him not to," said Lazor, whose vivacious personality complements the shy, soft-spoken Dadds. "The first practice, he wanted to put me on defense and I was like, "Why aren't you putting me where I'm supposed to be?" I said, "Don't hold back."
He hasn't. Lazor had played every minute of every game until coming out briefly against Elkton of Cecil County on Friday.
How much Dadds wouldcontribute was another uncertainty. She averaged just five points a game last season, but with senior guard Kristy Zulka shelved by a knee injury and backcourt mate Tammy Kuebel recovering from a fractured ankle, she no longer could play a supporting role.
"They were bothready," Vain said. "Lazor yielded the floor to Monica last year and didn't take quite as many shots. And Dadds probably felt like the third player down the line. This year, they both realized they were going to be the dominant players."
After averaging 11 points and 10 rebounds last winter, Lazor is making the most of her final season of high school competition. Dadds, meanwhile, looks forward to another, and perhaps even greater, year at Northeast.
"I don't think I've played my best yet," she said. "I can get better."