Defending champion Bears like being atop the field HAMMOND GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

December 03, 1992|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Last season, Hammond survived an uneven first half, then put together a second-half surge that didn't end until it won its first state girls basketball championship.

And the Bears did it without a senior and only one junior.

This year, Hammond is in the unfamiliar position of being the top dog that everyone is after. Sixth-year coach Joe Russo likes it that way.

"I feel great. Bring 'em on," Russo said. "We're just going to play hard every night and roll the dice."

The Bears appear quite prepared to defend their title. All of their starters are back, and they have added height and depth on the bench.

Ultimately, Hammond's fortunes revolve around junior 5-foot-6 point guard Kacy Williams, already one of the top female players in the state.

A tireless hustler and a terrific athlete, Williams led the team last year in scoring (16.0 ppg), assists (4.7) and steals (5.6), and was second in rebounding (7.3).

Williams' supporting cast is impressive. Senior 5-11 forward Kristen Moraz (10.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is a dangerous streak shooter who has grown 2 inches.

Junior 5-8 guard/forward Sonia Keiner was the steadiest inside player last year, when she led the team with 10.1 rebounds a game.

And sophomores Tiki Nicholson (10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Tameka Harrison (6.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg), who didn't contribute much until midseason last year, will be factors from the start.

Senior guards Samantha Andersch and Jennifer Garlick and forwards Nikki Dey and Amy Hanson give the Bears added experience.

But Russo is especially excited about two newcomers -- 6-1 senior forward Gabriel Nelsen, a transfer whose family returned from Germany this year, and 5-10 freshman forward Kellye Townsend.

"We're a lot better than we were last year," Russo said. "We're bigger, more skilled, and the girls are more focused."

Schedule

Dec. 4 at South Carroll 7

Dec. 11 at Arundel 7

Dec. 15 Westminster 5

Dec. 17 Liberty 7

Dec. 28-30 at IABBO tourn. tba

Jan. 5 North Carroll 7

Jan. 8 at Atholton 6

Jan. 13 at Glenelg 5

Jan. 15 at Mount Hebron 7:30

Jan. 20 at Centennial 3:30

Jan. 22 at Wilde Lake 6

Jan. 29 at Oakland Mills 7:30

Feb. 3 Howard 5

Feb. 5 Atholton 7:30

Feb. 10 Glenelg 3:30

Feb. 12 at Mount Hebron 6

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