Eagles'Chase in pursuit of excellence McDonogh junior improves game with inside skills

January 10, 1993|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

Some high school athletes strive for awards. McDonogh's Sonia Chase has an award named in her honor.

The Sonia Chase Award is presented annually to a girl in the Liberty Road Girls Basketball Program who exhibits outstanding ability, attitude and work habits.

Chase, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward who played for Liberty Road, has brought those qualities to McDonogh, where she has blossomed into one of the area's most talented and exciting girls basketball players.

She's averaging 23.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the 11th-ranked Eagles (7-4), who are seeking their third straight Association of Independent Schools tournament championship.

"When I first heard they were naming an award after me, I was flattered, obviously," Chase said. "I was also completely astonished."

And so are those who have seen Chase play this season.

She had always been an effective outside shooter, but this season Chase has unveiled an array of dazzling offensive moves.

"Last year she just shot from the perimeter," McDonogh coach Becky Clark said. "We wanted her to start playing a more physical inside game and penetrate. She's a more aggressive player this year."

Chase had what was probably her best all-around performance at McDonogh in a 64-52 victory over St. Frances on Dec. 22. In that game, Chase had a career-high 33 points to go along with nine rebounds and six steals.

And she almost single-handedly broke the Panthers' spirit with hertimely three-pointers, one of which came just before the end of the first half from near mid-court.

Chase hit two three-pointers in the opening minute of the third quarter to give McDonogh a lead it would not relinquish. She was 4-for-4 from three-point range and scored 15 in the period.

Chase's three-pointer at the end of the second quarter was the fourth buzzer-beating shot from long range she has made this season, including one against Broadneck in the Noel Classic that gave the Eagles a 41-38 victory.

"It's queer, because in practice I shoot them and never make them," Chase said. "I shot 10 in practice [Thursday] and none were even close."

Chase's performance against St. Frances was not her best, though. As a 10-year-old, Chase scored 41 points in a game.

"I didn't really know anything," Chase said. "I just loved the game. I had no structure to my game."

Chase knows plenty about basketball now, and she's spreading her knowledge to her teammates as well as Clark.

"I give the coach a little input here and there," Chase said. "I also give my teammates some pointers to try and help them improve their moves under the basket. I've opened up more this year."

Clark has noticed Chase's leadership qualities, as well.

"She's definitely the hub for the team," Clark said. "Her enthusiasm and intensity carry over to her teammates. When they're down, she can easily pick them up."

And as much enthusiasm as Chase has for basketball, she is equally devoted to her academics. She carries a 3.2 grade-point average and hopes to be a lawyer.

"I have a shirt that says 'basketball and books: you can't have one without the other,' " Chase said. "That's my motto."

One wouldn't expect anything less from a girl who already has an award named after her.

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