Knill helped keep Panthers girls on the county prowl Coach up to the task of maintaining North Carroll's league prominence Coach of the Year

March 19, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

It was a senior class North Carroll third-year coach Greg Knill won't soon forget and a 1992-93 season that was equally memorable.

The North Carroll Panthers were a heavy favorite to repeat as county champions and they disappointed few, rolling through the county schedule with a 7-0 mark, maintaining a top 20 ranking in the metro area and advancing to the region finals before finishing the season at 18-6.

The Panthers have improved every year under Knill, who has compiled a 47-24 mark in his three years as a head coach.

Getting on top is one thing; staying there is another. That is why Knill has been chosen as The Baltimore Sun's 1992-93 Carroll County Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.

"Our goal is to develop a program that is continuously competitive with no low points. You just have to keep the progress growing and continue to pass the torch, and every once in a while, you can cash in on a year like this one," Knill said.

There were some other strong coaching efforts in the county this season, with South Carroll's first-year coach Al Skierski and Francis Scott Key's Brian Hollingsworth also getting strong consideration for the honor.

Skierski inherited a young team that won only four games last season and -- despite losing his leading scorer, Nicole Spencer, midway through the season -- still guided the Cavaliers into the regional playoffs.

He revamped the Cavaliers' style of play, using more pressure on defense and more running on offense after years of tight zone defense and half-court offense under former coach Ruth Lampert.

Hollingsworth and the Eagles (11-11) advanced to the regional finals after starting the season at 1-5. It was the first playoff appearance for the Eagles since 1990, and the 11 wins this season were three more than the combined total of the Eagles' past two seasons.

Knill got the most out of a hard-working group of seniors -- Michele Jeffery, Ashlee Douglas, Francine Hewes and Kara Tedder -- to go along with a strong supporting cast of juniors and sophomores.

He worked all four years with the seniors, first as their junior varsity coach when they were freshmen.

"Seeing them leave is very, very difficult," Knill said.

"Anything they lacked in physical talent at the start they made up with heart and determination. That's something you just can't teach. It was a very nice season. Going undefeated in the county isn't going to happen very often. A question I ask is whether I'll be able to get a team at that level again."

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