Belz takes toll on Mercy foes Senior center is inside force

December 20, 1992|By Tara Finnegan | Tara Finnegan,Contributing Writer

The presence of Mercy center Gayle Belz is felt when she is on the court and missed when she is off it.

On the court, the 5-foot-11 senior is one of the Sharpshooters' top scorers (16.1 average) and rebounders (11.3).

"She's very tough in the lane," Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion said. "She has a real nice touch."

Belz is a force inside at the high post, where she uses a turn-around jumper without bringing the ball below her head.

"That's basically what my father taught me through the years," said Belz, whose father, Ed, coached recreation council teams in Cockeysville.

"He told me not to bring the ball down [off the pass] and from

experience, I learned it gets taken away."

Belz' inside game was a factor in Mercy's 56-46 win against Catholic League rival Seton Keough on Thursday.

Even with sitting out most of the fourth quarter in foul trouble, Belz finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, five steals and two blocks before fouling out with 30 seconds to play.

With Belz on the bench, the No. 9 Sharpshooters (4-2, 2-1) struggled with scrappy and determined Seton Keough. They trailed by as much as five late in the Catholic League game.

"When she's off the court, we're missing height and rebounding," Marion said. "She's a good person to have on the court because she wants the ball in crucial situations."

Belz re-entered the game with 3:32 left to play and Mercy trailing by three. After gathering her team in a huddle after a Seton Keough timeout, she grabbed two key steals with one leading to a Sharpshooters basket to give them a one-point lead. She then made two free throws to give Mercy a three-point advantage with 2:13 to play.

"I try to keep everyone psyched up," said Belz, a three-year varsity player. "I tell everyone to keep their heads up because we are still in the game."

Said Marion: "She knows the game well and has shown improvement every year. She works hard and helps the younger kids."

In addition to assuming a leadership role, Marion said Belz has made an extra effort to improve her game by playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball in the off-season for the Chesapeake Bay Hurricanes out of Annapolis.

Said Belz: "I just play every game like it is my last one and play it as tough as I can."

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