Practice makes perfect, the saying goes.
But that wasn't necessarily the case for St. Mary's guard Randall Goldsborough and Annapolis coach Teresa Ross, the Anne Arundel County Sun's 1991-1992 Girls Basketball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year.
No, practice didn't make either of them perfect, but it made themeach a lot better after having endured frustrating seasons.
Ross still winces at times when she thinks about a year ago, when her youthful Panthers finished 5-17 in the coach's first season.
"Last year, just getting the girls to want to practice was a tough job. It wasa little bit of a problem early this year, but that was quickly corrected," said Ross, who led the Panthers to a 14-10 record and a No. 3seed in the Region IV playoffs.
"There were some frustrating times last year, but the kids kept working hard toward the end and I think that carried over."
Goldsborough also would just as soon forget last year, a season in which she was called upon to be a team leader but concedes she lacked the maturity to rise to the occasion.
"There was a lot of pressure when (former All-County player Laura Coakley) got hurt. All the papers were saying that Randall was going to takeover -- and I freaked," said Goldsborough. "I was the focus and it threw me off. I felt I had to do this or that. But I guess it kind of got me ready for this year."
Armed with a year's experience under the gun, things quickly began to pay off for Goldsborough. She becamea more Complete player this year, averaging 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, and leading the Saints (24-3) to both the Catholic League and Catholic Tournament crowns.
"Most of all, it was her leadership and defense. The kids looked up to her this year, and she didn't let them down," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson, whose Saints, ranked No. 6 in The Baltimore Sun poll, lost in the Metro Classic to No. 3 Walbrook.
Goldsborough said, "My statisticsweren't as important as the fact that I was more involved with the players. Last year, I backed off a lot and was kind of shy. This year,I tried to lead more by example. I never really know what to say, soI liked being the one that people watched. I guess everyone wants togo out their senior year with a bang."
And Goldsborough was explosive, especially after a summer of solitary shooting sessions to transform herself into the superior three-point shooter.
"I just taught myself constantly how to shoot three-pointers -- right- and left-handed," said Goldsborough. "For a couple of hours at a time on each arm, I'd just go to the gym and put one hand behind my back and just heave the ball up. Half of my points probably every game were three-pointers."
She's nearly correct. Goldsborough bagged 62 three-pointers, or 186 of this year's 405 points.
"Defenses didn't seem to bother her," said Dobson. "If they came out on her, that just freed everyone else."
"Teams played up on me more at the three-point line instead of at the foul line. It was a compliment that they had to play pressure defense," said Goldsborough, who has a scholarship to play lacrosse at the University of Maryland and also plans to play soccer.
"I was surprised with how I seemed to know the court more. I actually thought about things instead of just doing them. You enjoy the game more if you're more involved, and I think the whole team played better because of it."
Annapolis also was vastly improved, thanks primarily to Ross' discipline and attention to detail.
"I benched three players for the North County game, which we lost. But I wanted to get the message across that you're not going to play if you don't work hard," said Ross, of what she deemed a risky but necessary maneuver.
"I still consider myself a very inexperienced coach. That kind of situation was pivotal, and it could have backfired. But I was extremely proud of the way the girls responded and came through it."
This year's 50-19, season-ending playoff semifinal loss to Broadneck was a bit of a downer for the Panthers. But Ross prefers to focus on the highlights, like her team's 58-38 first-round playoff win over Severna Park.
"What sticks out most in my mind is the senior leadership from Lisa Roberts, Missy Gordon, Dee Dee Downs," said Ross, who got11 points and seven boards from Roberts and 24 points from Downs in the year's last win.
"I had an excellent assistant coach in Paul Griffith, and the kids really worked hard all the time. I had lots of support from the athletic director (Fred Stauffer) and (boys basketball coach) John Brady. Annapolis was a great place to work."