Severn girls coach isn't a clock-watcher Warmsley-George's 9-2 team wins big

January 17, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

These days, Severn girls basketball coach Rhonda Warmsley-George is so relaxed while watching her team play that she occasionally forgets to check the scoreboard.

The Admirals haven't been tested much this season in winning nine of 11 games. Until Thursday's contest against Arlington Baptist, they had allowed more than 20 points just once when victorious, and that was a 42-21 rout of Glenelg Country School.

No wonder Warmsley-George hardly noticed when Arlington Baptist made a late, but futile, run.

With its starters on the bench, Severn almost squandered a 21-6 halftime lead. The Eagles got to within 30-23 with about three minutes left when Warmsley-George hustled her best players back into the game.

"I don't know how to put this, but I wasn't keeping track of the score and I left my second string in a little bit longer than I had planned," she said.

"They were within seven before I realized that they were catching up to us."

No harm done. The Admirals took a 34-23 victory, their sixth straight win.

"We were just about to tell her it was getting close," said 5-foot-10 center/forward Katie Graw, one of the starters who had been replaced early in the second half. "But it worked out well."

Like her coach, Graw could laugh about the incident. The mood is understandably upbeat at Severn.

"We're really psyched to do well," said Graw, one of two freshman in the starting lineup, along with point guard Monique Jennings. "Severn hasn't been a highly regarded girls basketball team over the years, and we want to make a change. I think we can do it."

And Warmsley-George is leading the way. Severn won 16 games during her first two seasons, and she says, "This is probably the best team I've had since I've been here because I have more than one or two good players, and I think I have a fairly deep bench."

This certainly is her youngest team. Only one senior, Meagan Pollock, is on the roster, and she's a reserve. The starting lineup consists of two freshmen, one sophomore and two juniors.

A third freshman, Julie Tice, and three other sophomores also have seen extensive playing time.

Jennings (11.4 points per game) and Graw (7.3) have been the key additions; two players who honed their skills with the Ledo Lightning, an Amateur Athletic Union 13-and-under team that competed in a national tournament this summer. Unlike past teams that have taken to the hardwood during the winter, players on this one don't see basketball as a stopover between the field hockey and lacrosse seasons.

"They've played together for years, and they're jelling our team," said Warmsley-George.

"Monique is my strongest player. Being a point guard, she runs the show and she does a good job of it. Her speed is definitely an asset and she can handle the ball. She looks for, and sees, the open man. And she gets the other girls going because of her style of play. They play fast just to keep up with her."

Said Arlington Baptist coach Lou Clelland. "I think they're a good team. You can tell they have a ways to go, as far as experience is concerned. They definitely have the talent."

They also have a defense that is proving to be as penetrable as a brick wall. The Admirals shut out Beth Tfiloh for one half in a 51-19 win last week, and Arlington Baptist failed to score in the second quarter and shot 10-for-50 from the field against man-to-man and zone defenses.

L Severn has outscored its opponents 402-153 in its nine wins.

"I've always stressed defense," said Warmsley-George. "I'm sure all coaches will say that defense wins game."

Severn's two losses have come to Chesapeake, a Class 4A public school. The Cougars held on for a 55-50 win on Dec. 14, and took a 57-32 decision in a holiday tournament, when the Admirals were missing three starters.

"The first game changed our minds a little," Graw said. "It proved to ourselves that we really could do well, and I think it made us stronger, knowing that we're competitive."

Warmsley-George said: "I thought that was a good indication of how well we could play."

It's been ridiculously simple ever since the tournament loss to Chesapeake. The Admirals have won their next six games by an average of 25.5 points.

But will Severn continue to handle teams with such ease? Will future opponents be shut out over an entire quarter or half?

A look at the Admirals' remaining games indicates that this isn't likely to happen.

"We are coming into the tough part of our season," said Warmsley-George, "and the girls are beginning to get a little more intense."

And Warmsley-George will begin to watch the scoreboard a little more closely.

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