North Carroll looks to Hewes for defense Senior is one key to team's 7-0 start

January 03, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Every good basketball team needs a Francine Hewes.

Hewes loves to play defense, work hard, pass the ball and win. Also, the senior North Carroll girls basketball standout doesn't care who gets the credit.

And she talks like a coach.

"We're all a team," said Hewes. "Everyone should get recognition. No one is jealous of anyone else. I just go out and play hard."

Panthers coach Greg Knill couldn't have said it better himself as he tries to guide his ninth-ranked and unbeaten team (7-0) toward a state 2A championship this season.

Hewes is a perfect complementary player for North Carroll's two high-profile stars, forward Michele Jeffery and point guard Ashlee Douglas.

Jeffery and Douglas often take over games offensively, but it is Hewes who truly thrives on defense.

On a night when opponents are collapsing on Jeffery inside and hounding Douglas outside, it is Hewes who steps forward with a big defensive play or a key basket and shows the Panthers aren't a two-player team.

Hewes said there are no secrets to her ability to shut down teams with her defensive prowess.

"I just work hard," she said. "It's defense that wins games."

Knill believes it isn't all that simple.

"Francine's athletic ability allows her to shine," said Knill. "She has a lot of heart, quick feet and quick hands. We need Francine on this team."

To become a complete player, Hewes has to improve her offensive skills to a level closer to her defensive ability.

"We're hoping Francine can lift her offensive game a lot before the season is over," said the third-year Panthers' coach. "We need that. She lacks confidence in her shooting. She is not a natural shooter."

Hewes likes to stick mostly to high-percentage shots such as layups and follow-ups off rebounds.

"It takes me a while to get confidence in my shooting," said the 5-foot-7 senior guard. "Sometimes I don't like to shoot. But if I make a few, I might shoot from the outside if I'm open."

As a junior, Hewes averaged seven points but has stepped up the pace to 10 in the early going this season.

With the signs of improvement in the offense and a 4.0 grade-point average, Hewes has attracted attention from some local college basketball coaches. "Johns Hopkins has expressed an interest," said Knill.

Last season, Hewes and the Panthers lost to Middletown by three points on the road in the state 2A regional finals.

This season, Knill hopes to have the home-court advantage for the regionals.

"We want the party at our place this year," said Knill. "That's our goal and we should make it if we fare OK in our tough Central Maryland Conference. We have to play Thomas Johnson and Linganore twice."

"All the players bring something to the team," Knill said. "Francine brings her defensive talent, Jenny Baker brings her outside shot, and Casey Rhoten and Kara Tedder bring rebounding. Our four seniors -- Francine, Ashlee Douglas, Michele Jeffery and Kara Tedder -- are our leaders."

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