North Carroll stars play a role reversal Douglas, Jeffery know ins and outs for basketball

December 17, 1992|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

It's winter time, and for two North Carroll stars -- seniors Ashlee Douglas and Michele Jeffery -- that means not only trading in soccer cleats for sneakers, but also trading places.

Douglas did most of the scoring on the soccer field this fall, leading the county in goals with 17, and Jeffery was one of the county's top defenders.

On the court, it's a different story. The Panthers look for Jeffery inside to provide much of the scoring and, often, it's the team's point guard, Douglas, doing the looking. It has produced the county's most lethal tandem.

"Ashlee knows when we need a bucket she can find someone inside, and she has a great knack of putting it in the right place. It's usually Michele she finds," North Carroll coach Greg Knill said. "She [Michele] has a great ability to get open and score when we need it most."

A case in point came Monday when the Panthers were playing host to county rival Francis Scott Key. The Panthers led comfortably, 21-10, at the half before the Eagles opened the third quarter with two quick baskets to cut the lead to seven. The next two times down the court, Douglas found Jeffery in close and the lead quickly was back to double digits. North Carroll rolled to a 55-31 win, as Jeffery finished with a team-high 16 points and Douglas had 11 assists.

"I try to look for Michele every chance I get," Douglas said. "It doesn't matter where I put it, Michele just finds a way to catch it and do something with it. I just have a lot of confidence going to her and know she'll at least get to the foul line."

Jeffery appreciates Douglas' ability to find her down low on a regular basis. "Ashlee just does a great job of penetrating and then dishing off when someone gets on her," Jeffery said. "A lot of times it's me who she finds."

It's that duo, along with a strong cast of other returning players, that has Knill's team undefeated and ranked 12th in the metro area.

"I'm pleased with all the seniors and everyone that's back," Knill said. "In the past couple of years, Michele has had a lot more responsibility on her, and the other teams are now paying closer attention to her. But we have the players around her like Ashlee and Francine [Hewes] that we don't have to rely on her. It really showed up the other night [against Francis Scott Key], everyone on the team contributed in some way or the other."

Jeffery uses the same kind of fiery intensity, whether it's knocking a striker off the ball in soccer or grabbing a rebound and putting it back through for two points. Last year, she led the county in rebounding (12.0) and was fourth in scoring (11.5).

"Michele has matured a lot over the last four years," Knill said. "She's a strong leader and one of the hardest workers I've ever coached. When she gets inside the rectangle, she wants to play and plays hard."

It was Douglas' speed and quickness that made her a constant scoring threat in soccer. Those same assets show up on the hardwood, as she finished in the top five in the county in assists (3.1) and steals (2.5) as a junior.

Knill has coached her throughout her high school career, first on junior varsity. "She has great vision of the court and has a way of finding players in traffic. She's also not hesitant to make a mistake and not afraid to go back with something until it works."

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