When Beth Shugert sank a third-quarter jump shot yesterday, it enabled the entire St. Paul's basketball team to outscore Severn School's Suzanne Weinberg, 12-10.
The Gators had an unfair advantage, though. Weinberg was on the bench at the time.
The Admirals' senior guard returned for the fourth quarter and topped her season's average with 19 points in a 49-30 victory. She has led her team in scoring in every game but one, an obscenely lopsided 58-6 win over Pompeii Tuesday.
Weinberg only had eight points in that game, as a compassionate Severn first-year coach Rhonda Warmsley began shuffling in her reserves.
Warmsley did the same yesterday after the Admirals had built a 24-6 halftime lead, but Weinberg tossedin nine points over the final eight minutes to remain on the heels of North County senior Kim Miller in the county scoring race.
Miller is averaging 18.4 points to hold a narrow edge over Weinberg (17.8). Not that the Admirals' three-sport standout worries about such things.
"It was nice having my name up there, but it doesn't bother methat I went down," said Weinberg, a four-year member of the basketball varsity. "I don't go out trying to score a certain amount of points, because that wouldn't really benefit the team."
Weinberg hardlyhas been a detriment. Her play has enabled Severn to go 7-5 with twogames remaining before the start of the Association of Independent School's Tournament Feb. 11.
"I'm certainly not disappointed with how the season has gone so far," Warmsley said. "And as I stressed earlier in the season, we need to start a tradition of serious basketball here at the school. Right now, basketball isn't the main sport for these girls."
Weinberg, who also excels in field hockey and lacrosse, is no exception. But that doesn't prevent her from leading the team in scoring and placing in the top three in assists, steals and rebounding.
"From what everyone told me, I knew she was the No. 1 player here," Warmsley said. "The talent is spread, but it's just that Suzanne possesses more confidence in herself. She's more experienced in the game."
Weinberg, who also had 11 rebounds and one block yesterday, is gaining experience as a spectator because of Severn's knackfor disarming opposing offenses.
St. Paul's six first-half pointsweren't the fewest against the Admirals this season. Pompeii was shut out through the first two quarters of its loss, and Mount Carmel only managed three points in a December setback.
The less the opposition scores, the less Weinberg plays.
"I know other people need (playing) time," Weinberg said. "The only thing I'm worried about is only one more home game in my basketball career."
The home finale is Feb. 5 against Arlington Baptist, a team that should offer stiffer competition.
St. Paul's did tally 12 of the first 16 points of the third quarter to make the score respectable, 28-18, as Weinberg sat and watched.
"I didn't feel uncomfortable, because I knew I could put my starters back in, particularly Suzanne, and get the points and intensity level back," Warmsley said. "I wasn't getting worried, but I saw they were getting close, so I put Suzanne back in. She's my acein the hole."
The Gators also got to within 10 points early in the fourth quarter, 32-22, but Weinberg buried her second three-pointer, teammate Rebecca Ripley scored on a follow, and Weinberg made a steal and layup to push the lead to 39-22.
From there, St. Paul's managed five free throws and a three-pointer at the buzzer from Jennifer Brummer in falling to 3-4.
"It's taken a while to get the team together," said Gators first-year coach Nikki Heuer, who was an assistant last year. "It's the same with a lot of teams; you're on one half and off the next, you're hot and you're cold."
Senior guard Kristin Gillis was the only other Admiral in double figures with 10 points.Anne Schorreck had eight points, and Katie Gamble, Rebecca Ripley and Emily Franey four each.
Shugert led St. Paul's with 10 points, including eight from the foul line.