Amy Langville's role on the Archbishop Spalding girls basketball team has been transformed.
Surrounded by a cast of experienced seniors last season, the 5-foot-8 point guard was responsible for dishing off the ball, which she did with a high degree of efficiency. Only a sophomore, she emerged as one of the metro area's assist leaders, averaging nearly five a game.
When the curtain opened for the Cavaliers 1991-1992 campaign, however, Langville found herself in new company -- and in a new capacity.
"She has never been called on to be scorer, she's always been a playmaker," said Spalding coach Paul Leimkuhler. "Her first two years, she played with a lot of upperclassmen, so she worked hard in creating shot opportunities for others.
"This year, we've demanded thatshe score more to take pressure off younger players. Instead of dishing it off like last season, we've asked her to score more."
And she has.
In the Cavs first seven games (three wins), the 16-year-old has led the team in scoring at 12.5 points-per-game.
It seems logical that a player taking more shots would see a decline in the assist total, but that's not been the case. Langville's 37 feeds moved her to the top of metro area's assist list with 5.3 a game.
"We put the ball in Amy's hands and let her do what she does best," said Leimkuhler. "Amy plays many roles and leads us in many categories. She leads us in categories that you wouldn't expect a point guard to lead in."
One such category is rebounding, where she is team runner-up behind center Carrie Parsons with 6.1 boards a game.
Another department that she uncharacteristically heads as a point guard is blocked shots. In spite of her unintimidating height, Langville has swatted away 29 shots for an average of 4.1 blocks a game.
"She really takes advantage of her quickness and leaping ability," said Leimkuhler. "To block as many shots as she has, you need good eye-hand coordination and good timing, and some of that has come from playing volleyball."
The rest has come from attending basketball camps and playing one-on-one with her brother, Chad, a freshman on the Cavaliers' junior varsity squad. Last summer, she attended the Buzzy Braman Shooting Clinic at Arundel High and a week-long camp at Towson State University with teammates Lisa Canter, Karen Keeley and Katie Meloro.
"I've been playing with (Chad) a lot, and he's been getting taller and bigger, so I have to work a lot harder to get the ball," said Langville, who earned All-Catholic League and second-team All County honors last season. "After I'm done playing with him and start playing against the girls in our league, it seems a lot easier."
Winning hasn't beenquite so simple for the young Cavs, but Langville remains confident of her team's abilities and its potential.
"I think we're going tokeep getting better and better as the season goes on because right now, we still need experience," said Langville, whose athletic abilityand 4.0 grade-point-average should draw the attention of college scouts next year. "The people we have this year didn't get to play much last year because we had so many seniors.
"By the end of this season, I think we should be able to play with St. Mary's and those people."
Leimkuhler, who shares Langville's optimism, said he was not at all surprised when his squad chose the star junior as team captain.He attributes her popularity to "a totally unselfish attitude" and "a willingness to accept her role."
"She is the first junior we've ever had elected as a captain," said the eight-year coach. "She's a leader by example, no talk. She's quiet and soft-spoken, but she's notafraid to get in there.
"There's no superstar about her. She doesn't walk or talk like a superstar, she just graciously accepts the acclaim she gets."