Linganore High School's girls basketball team completed a clean sweep of its Howard County competition Friday night with a 61-35 rout at Centennial.
Linganore, a Frederick County school with designs on aClass 3A state championship, had already recorded easy victories over Oakland Mills, Howard and Glenelg before taking on the Eagles.
And the Lancers, who lost to Howard in the regional playoffs lastyear, improved their record to 7-0 by performing like a state title contender.
"I knew we were in for a tough game. I've known that for a month," said Beth Brown, Centennial's first-year coach.
"I have the utmost respect for them (Linganore). They have terrific shooters and drivers, they have a strong bench, and they have great confidence in their ability. I enjoy watching them play."
Brown didn't particularly enjoy what the Lancers did to her Eagles (3-3).
The Lancers sent Centennial a telling message by running off 11 unanswered points to begin the game. Guard Jennifer Gloyd (team-high 16 points) started the barrage with the first of four three-point baskets.
Linganore's pressure defense also wreaked havoc. The Eagles
committed nine turnovers in the first quarter, missed their first eight shots and found themselves in a 19-4 hole at the end of the opening period.
If that wasn't enough, Centennial point guard Kelly Butler went tothe bench with three fouls with 1:27 left in the quarter.
For therest of the night, the Lancers staged a clinic. They solved Centennial's zone defenses with deadly outside shooting. They worked the ballpatiently to the low post and drove inside when the openings were there. Their defense went on to force 26 turnovers, creating easy baskets with a smooth transition game.
In short, they played on a higher level.
"Our defense is just outstanding, and we're starting to rebound now," said Linganore coach Brian Matthews. "We made a couple of mistakes and gave away a few baskets, but that will happen."
Guard Carrie Jenkins also sparked the Lancers with 14 points, while guard Regina Powell turned in a great defensive effort to go with her sixpoints. Forwards Pam Anderson and Betsy Roberts scored nine and six points.
Centennial's lone bright spot was 6-foot junior forward Shannon Saltzman, who scored a game-high 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots. Saltzman, who did most of her work inside, produced the loudest cheers from Eagles fans with two three-pointers in the closing minutes.
It was the goggle-wearing Gloyd who stole the show by hitting four of eight treys to break her own school record for three-pointers in a game.
"Goggle-woman can shoot, can't she?" Brown said. "That kid is terrific."
After Gloyd got the Lancers rolling, the Eagles also hurt themselves by missing several easy shots late in the first period. Several outside shots also barely missed.
"I'm not going to blame it on a waxed rim. You've got to takecare of the basketball against that team," Brown said.
Centennialcame alive somewhat in the second period, essentially trading baskets with Linganore. But the Eagles could not cut the deficit, as they trudged to the locker room at halftime trailing, 35-16.
The Lancerswasted no time putting the finishing touches on their victory. In the first minute of the third quarter, Centennial turned the ball over with a 30-second violation, Gloyd hit her third three-pointer, and Butler picked up her fourth foul. The Lancers went on to score seven more points and take a 45-18 lead with four minutes left in the period.