Broadneck's rebuilding has firm foundation Marshall, Barr are key to wins

February 02, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Bruce Springer won't get 20 wins out of his Broadneck girls basketball team this winter. He might not even reach 15.

Before the season began, many wondered if he'd get 10. The rebuilding job was that big.

The Bruins, perennially one of the strongest teams in the county, wore the odd look of an also-ran in early December. Only one starter, senior forward Missy Lewandowski, was a member of last year's 20-4 region finalist team. In all, nine seniors departed, taking with them "92 percent of our scoring and 95 percent of our rebounding," Springer said.

"We spent a lot more time in practice on basic fundamentals, a lot of time on shooting," he said. "I thought that would be one of our real weaknesses coming in. We've only had about three games where we shot over 30 percent this year."

Not nearly enough shots were made in Friday's 60-23 loss to No. 2 Old Mill, but the Bruins' record is 8-6 -- including two losses in the Noel Classic holiday tournament that don't count toward region playoff points.

On Wednesday, they scored just 13 points in the first half before rallying to defeat Glen Burnie, 44-29. It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't a total collapse, either. The growing pains aren't crippling this team.

"I still have very high expectations for this group," Springer said.

His expectations were so high at the onset that they became unrealistic. That was the first of many adjustments.

"I can see myself changing some this year," Springer said. "I expected an awful lot from them at the beginning of the year. They just didn't have the basics to produce, and I found myself getting real uptight. I had to step back from it and say, 'Let's concentrate more on the basics, and the rest will come.' And it has.

"The biggest area of improvement is in their situation and game awareness. At the beginning, they played like it was always the same score and the same amount of time. Their whole comprehension of the game has improved. And that comes with game experience."

The turning point came at the unlikeliest of times, during the Christmas tournament, when Broadneck lost to No. 1 Western, 76-22, and McDonogh, 41-38.

"When I looked back at the film of the Western game, we played very well. We just didn't put the ball in the basket. I think they realized after that game that maybe we could be a pretty good team," Springer said.

"Then, we came back and played McDonogh and lost on a last-second shot. That reaffirmed the idea that maybe we're better than we think we are."

Springer was dealt a vastly different hand than the ones he had seen during his first four seasons. He won 15 games in his initial season, then led the Bruins to the 4A state championship in 1988-89. Only the emergence of Old Mill, winner of the last two state titles, had displaced Broadneck from the top of the heap.

A greater tumble was expected this year. No proven scorers returned, and the Bruins appeared soft in the middle after having spent recent years dominating most opponents inside.

Springer needed someone to emerge, and that player turned out to be 5-foot-11 junior Julie Barr. Having spent most of last season on the bench, she began the week averaging 10.8 points and 11.3 rebounds -- both team highs.

"At first, I thought I was going to be the only post player," said Barr, who had 17 points and 16 rebounds in a 47-40 win over Chesapeake last month. "We were using four guards, and I was kind of worried."

Help arrived in other forms, as well. Jessica Marshall, a 5-10 sophomore, moved into the lineup at power forward and eased some of the rebounding load on Barr. Senior guard Aimee Byard and sophomore forward Tara Jensen, who began the year as starters, have proven to be more valuable coming off the bench.

Kate Kemerer, a 5-foot-5 junior, and Jill Smith, a 5-4 sophomore, have been steady in the backcourt.

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