Centennial runs into county wall

February 07, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Beth Brown didn't expect miracles. But when her Centennial girls basketball team took the court this season, she didn't foresee such a nose dive, either.

Halfway through the county schedule, the Eagles remain in search of their first league victory. They are 0-8 against the county, 3-11 overall and they've lost nine straight. With six games left, they are two games out of seventh place.

Centennial figured to struggle after 6-foot senior forward Shannon Saltzman -- The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro volleyball Player of the Year who is headed to Maryland on a full scholarship -- chose to skip basketball in her final season.

Still, the Eagles, who went 10-13 last season, returned a core of three-year players, including guards Laura Taneyhill and Kelly Butler and forward Sherri Happel.

The Eagles have had some close calls. They lost by one point to Linganore before the county schedule began. Nine days ago, they came up three points short against Howard.

Wednesday night marked the season's low point. Glenelg, which has beaten only two county teams, outscored the Eagles 23-0 in the first quarter, then went on to a 53-25 victory. Centennial shot 16 percent from the field.

"You can imagine how frustrated I am," said Brown. "We're getting beat in transition, we don't box out, we're not making our free throws. Our biggest problem is our shooting."

Taneyhill has been the only consistent offensive player. She is averaging 9.7 points.

While the Eagles ride out a lost season, Brown hopes help is on the way. The junior varsity is off to a 5-2 start. In the meantime, the losses are eating at Brown.

"I wish I could play," Brown said. "I play in a Sunday women's league, and boy, do I take out my frustrations there."

Frustrations at Mount Hebron

Mount Hebron's Scott Robinson has to be the most frustrated boys basketball coach in the county.

Early in the season, Robinson warned that the Vikings' lack of height, quickness and -- most importantly -- a true point guard would spell trouble in a solid league.

Robinson was right. After winning their first two county games, the Vikings dropped their next five to finish the first round in last place.

In this extremely competitive season, that's only three games behind league-leading Glenelg, but Hebron has problems. It is having trouble handling defensive pressure. It is being manhandled on the boards. And its offense shoots too many blanks.

During their first four defeats against the county, the Vikings averaged an anemic 41.5 points. What made the defeats more maddening is that the Vikings have played fine defense. They held Glenelg's Jason Beall, Howard's Javier Micheaux and Oakland Mills' Michael Hill -- the top three scorers in the county -- to 12, 5 and 10 points, respectively, and held those teams to an average of 49.3 points.

Glenelg's 56-40 victory nine days ago prompted Robinson to unveil a new offensive approach. The Hebron team you see the rest of this month will be looking to score three-point baskets all night.

"When I told the kids the other day at practice, their eyes bugged out," Robinson said. "[Assistant coach] Chris [Robinson] and I realized last week that we were shooting 39 percent from three-point range. When you're scoring 40 points a game, you've got to do something."

Four Hebron players -- Kurtis Jestes, Phil Tonkins, Mark Jensen and Fasil Khan -- have the green light to shoot the three-pointer. Wednesday night against Wilde Lake, they made 12 of 26 (46.2 percent) in a 73-69 defeat.

Size beat the Vikings in that game, as the Wildecats out-rebounded Hebron, 34-11. Wilde Lake had more offensive rebounds (16) alone than the Vikings.

Even if the Vikings don't make it out of last place, at least they intend to go down firing.

Harrison supports Bears

Kacy Williams rightfully gets most of the attention on Hammond's fourth-ranked girls basketball team. After all, she led the Golden Bears to their first state title last year, and she leads the Bears in scoring, steals and assists.

But Williams is surrounded by quite a supporting cast. And the most promising player in this group might be sophomore forward Tameka Harrison.

At 5 feet 9, Harrison has the best inside moves on the team and is team's steadiest defensive player. Coach Joe Russo often puts Harrison on the opponent's top scorer. With her long arms, quick feet and great instincts, Harrison wins more of those battles than she loses.

She's averaging 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals. None of those statistics lead the team, but Harrison's value can't be underestimated. She averages only 1.1 turnover a game. She's also coming on offensively, having scored 26 points in her last two games.

"She just turned 15, and she's getting taller and gaining more weight," Russo said. "I'm glad we've got her for another two years."

Hebron girls impressive

Mount Hebron girls basketball coach Dave Greenberg surely will find something wrong with his Vikings, even after they finished the first round of the county schedule in first place with a 7-0 record. But the bottom line is pretty impressive.

The Vikings are scoring 55.1 points against the county and giving up only 31.7.

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