Hebron adjusts to loss of Bryant, beats Seton Keough, 53-25

December 05, 1992|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

Mount Hebron coach Dave Greenberg has something to sa to all those who think the loss of 1991 Player of the Year Kris Bryant will spell the end of the Vikings' winning ways.

"People are making too much out of it," said Greenberg.

In yesterday's opener against Seton Keough, he and the No. 4 Vikings proved their point. Minus the services of Bryant, a 6-foot forward out for the season with a knee injury, host Mount Hebron forced 40 turnovers and held the Gators to one basket in the final 20:58 en route to a 53-25 win.

What the Vikings lost in size, they made up for in quickness and hustle.

"We were a perimeter team before we got Kris, and that's what we'll be now," said Greenberg, whose team went 22-2 a year ago, and have won 12 county and six state titles in the past 14 years.

"We'd definitely like it better if she could play, but the other people will just have to step up. We've got to play with what we've got."

And if the first game is any indication, Hebron still has a lot to play with.

Scrappy guard Erica McCauley was all over the court, scoring a game-high 14 points, mostly from the perimeter, and hustling to create numerous turnovers. Teammates Emily Yanero (nine points), Sandra Benson (10) and Tierney Clark (seven) also worked hard, trying to make up some of Bryant's lost point production.

"We're changing our style to go with our strength," said McCauley. "We're stronger on the perimeter, so that's where we're going."

Mount Hebron scored 14 of its 25 field goals by shooting or driving from the outside -- a strategy McCauley says is a smart one, and, really, the only one.

"We just have to realize that Kris isn't going to miraculously come back," she said. "We have to accept that and do what it takes to win."

Still, players admit the loss hurts.

"It affects us a lot, especially in practice," said Yanero. "It makes everyone step up and play a little harder. You've also got to play smarter."

The Vikings know a little about that. Ten of their 12 players carry grade-point averages of 3.5 or better. Junior Kristen Lloyd, who took Bryant's place in the starting lineup, is one of them.

She admits this season will be a learning experience. The only action she saw last year was guarding her injured teammate in practice.

"I was her practice dummy," Bryant said. "I learned a whole lot last year. There's definitely a lot more that I have to learn."

Added Greenberg: "She can do it. She's not there yet, but no one will work harder to get there."

That could be the Mount Hebron motto this season. Though small in stature, they'll have to play with a lot of heart to repeat their past successes.

"How many team's can lose a great player like that and go on to a winning year?" Greenberg asked.

The Vikings are off and running.

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