Young Panthers hope season will be good experience Annapolis GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

December 03, 1992|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County's 1991-92 Girls Basketball Coach of the Year is staring another turnaround in the face, but it's one she hopes doesn't happen.

Annapolis coach Teresa Ross turned a young 5-17 team into a 14-10 Class 4A Region IV playoff team last winter.

But with the loss of second-team All-County center Lisa Roberts (6 feet) and her 11.9 points a game average to graduation, and the decision of a promising senior not to play this season, Ross has no seniors.

"My biggest concern is that we are so young and inexperienced and if Shannon doesn't get back, we could be hurting," said Ross, who is sweating out the loss of 6-foot-1 junior Shannon Henderson to academic probation.

Henderson and Kai Simms (6-2), who gave up the game, were to be two key returning players. Under the new county guidelines, Henderson has 15 days to get her grade-point average up to a 2.0 or be declared ineligible the rest of the season.

"Shannon can be a dominant player and gives us experience inside that we lack," said Ross.

"It's imperative that she return. Kai had the potential to score 20 points a game, but we had a long talk and she just doesn't want to play anymore. I don't want to persuade someone who really doesn't want to be there to play."

Ross wasn't fooling when she said her Panthers team is young, and it didn't help that only 38 girls tried out this season after nearly 60 came out last year.

After Henderson, guard Cristi Samaras (5-6) and Aleks Rhines are the only juniors on a team with five sophomores and two freshmen.

Guards Emily Nugent (5-3) and Tia Brown (5-5), forwards Artina Trader (5-6) and Megan Fowler (5-6) and center Mary Newman (5-9) are the sophomores. Ross said Trader "has great leaping ability and has really matured as a player and young lady."

The two freshmen are forwards Steffy Samaras (5-8) and Ginny Dauses (5-7).

"We should be pretty quick and will have to play a full-court, pressure-defense kind of game to be competitive," said Ross.

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