Many happy returns will make Golden Bears the team to beat again

December 06, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Nobody can boast a returning lineup like Hammond's.

The Golden Bears bring back four starters who averaged double figures in scoring as well as a sixth man who added six points per game.

Their marquee player is sensational All-Metro guard Kacy Williams, who already has signed with Georgetown. A 5-foot-6 complete point-guard package, Williams can do it all. The Bears' floor leader averaged 12.1 points and six rebounds last year as well as a team-leading five assists and 4.7 steals per game.

But Williams is just the beginning. Also back is senior Sonia Keiner, another four-year starter with Division I potential. The 5-9 guard averaged 10.4 points and seven rebounds per game.

Two starting juniors return -- 5-7 guard Tiki Nicholson (10.8 points, five rebounds, 3.5 steals) and 5-9 forward Tameka Harrison (10.1 points, team-leading 7.4 rebounds).

Sophomore 5-10 forward Kellye Townsend earns a starting spot after coming off the bench to average six points and 6.6 rebounds.

Consider that this group finished 21-5, ranked No. 3 by The Baltimore Sun (behind Old Mill and Western) and runners-up in Class 2A and in Howard County, and that gives the Bears a bit of a preseason edge on the rest of the pack. Still, the Bears should face a challenge again from reloading Mount Hebron, the defending county champ.

Joe Russo, last season's All-Metro Coach of the Year, has guided the Bears to a 43-9 record over two years and to two straight trips to the state Class 2A title game. There's no question where the Bears want to be March 12.

"I think they would be disappointed if they didn't get to the [state] final game," said Russo. "But you just can't rest on your laurels. You've got to get there."

There won't be much resting here. The Bears have not forgotten last year's state-title game -- a 53-48 loss to Middletown. Without a doubt, they want to reclaim the championship Hammond won for the first time in 1992.

The Bears also want to take the county title from Mount Hebron. The last two years the Vikings won both regular-season matchups before the Bears came back and knocked the Vikings out of the regional playoffs.

With their talented lineup, the Bears easily should make a run at both titles. Offensively, they show more balance than any other county team. The four returning starters combined for just over 43 points per game, which looks pretty good considering that their defense allowed just 36.

That defense is one of the stingiest around. With quickness in every postion, the Bears can terrorize opponents with a lot of pressure and man-to-man.

In addition to his starters, Russo looks to the bench to contribute. Amy Hanson (a 5-9 senior forward) and Rene Hines (a 6-0 freshman forward) should see considerable action. Rounding out the roster are seniors Katy Evans (5-7 guard), Amy Nestor (5-8 forward) and Tanja Owe (5-10 forward) and junior Sharon Riggs (5-8 guard).

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