Having lost rebounding leader Debbi Dadds for last Tuesday's loss toChesapeake, the last thing Northeast head coach Calvin Vain needed was to have his leading scorer out for the season.
With 5 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter of Friday's South River-Northeast girls basketball game, Stephanie Lazor went down in a heap after going for a layup against South River's Tracy Zettle. The 5-11 senior began writhing in pain, clutching her heavily wrapped right knee.All Vain could see at that moment was the end of Lazor's career.
Fortunately, Lazor was able to shake off her injury and continue,helping spark the Eagles to a 48-37 triumph over their 3A-2A league adversaries.
"That was a scary moment. The moment she hit the ground, I saw both the rest of the basketball season and her softball career down the drain," said Vain, whose team improved to 12-8 overall, 2-2 in league play. (After Lazor got back on her feet), I asked her if she wanted to sit out for a while. But she wouldn't take herself out. That's what kind of player she is. She just doesn't want to quit."
Lazor's 16-point, 14-rebound effort against the Seahawks enabled her to reach the 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound marks for her career (including one season on the junior varsity). Dadds, recovered from her bout with the flu, shared game-high honors with 16 points of her own, in addition to grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds.
Northeast out-rebounded South River, 48-29 -- a fact that didn't go unoticed by Seahawk head coach Jim Morton.
"No one boxed out, no one," he said. "They really killed us on the boards, especially the offensive boards.I think that was the difference in the outcome of the game."
Despite their ineptness on the boards, scrappy South River (9-11, 1-2 league) took a 21-20 lead to the locker room at halftime. Peggy Schreiber led her team during the first two quarters with six points (4-for-6from the charity stripe), ending up with eight for the evening. Bea Ulrich notched five points during the first half, ending with a team-high of nine.
Dadds led the Eagles with seven first-half points, while Kristy Zulka hit a pair of three-point baskets.
"We always have trouble playing against South River," Vain said. "We lost to them earlier in the year, (Dec. 18, 41-35 at South River) and they gave usall sorts of problems. Today, they were really aggressive, and they got to a lot of loose balls, while we just stood there looking at them.
"I told the girls at halftime I don't mind them losing, but at least go down fighting. I'm from the playgrounds of East Baltimore; Ican't stand getting out-scrapped.
The Eagles apparently heard their mentor's plea, outscoring the Seahawks, 15-5, during the pivotal third stanza. Lazor led the way offensively with seven points and three rebounds.
"Although I wish we could have won, I was pleased withour performance for most of the game," Morton said. "We played a lotbetter than we did Tuesday (a 57-29 loss at Annapolis). We haven't been playing that well lately, and this game was important as far as getting them to play up to their abilities. We're showing signs of improvement."
In boys action, Steve Strauss' 27-point, five-rebound performance led the Eagles to a 3A-2A title-clinching 75-60 win over the Seahawks. Gene Pleyo added 22 points and eight rebounds, while Craig Everett (eight rebounds) and Zach Herold chipped in 11 and 10respectively for the Eagles (15-5, 3-1). Darren Hall paced South River (10-10, 1-2) with 22 points, followed by Albert Lee's 14.