Girls basketball team on fast track with new players, up-tempo style

December 09, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Tom Smith has just one player returning from last season's Anne Arundel Community College women's basketball team. The rest are freshmen whose names are recognized easily by people who follow the sport on the high school level.

Alina Smith. Debbi Dadds. Denise Perrone. All former high school standouts who are trying to produce a winning record and get the Pioneers beyond the first round of the Region XX Tournament, something that last season's team couldn't do.

"We're a lot more solid," Tom Smith said. "We have a better bench. We can go deeper. And they're very unselfish. They play together. This team has a good chance of competing with anyone in the region."

For a change, Smith will be able to play the brand of basketball that he loves -- up-tempo and with more pressure on defense. No more sitting back in a passive zone, worrying about conserving energy because of a thin bench.

Barring injuries, Smith will have 10 players available for each game, including the lone returning player, 5-foot-8 Southern graduate Lindee Sisk, who will play at the No. 4 spot after being used primarily at small forward last season. She averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds, as the Pioneers went 15-10 and lost to Potomac State in the opening game of the tournament.

On Nov. 29, she had 13 points and four assists in a 59-19 season-opening victory over Dundalk.

One projected starter is Alina Smith, Arundel's all-time leading scorer who had to come off the bench against Dundalk because of a broken finger. A 5-6 point guard, she joins former Wildcats teammate Stephanie Carpenter (5-6) in the backcourt.

Perrone (5-9), a Chesapeake graduate who led the Cougars in scoring last season, starts at small forward but also can play either guard position. She scored six against Dundalk.

Dadds (5-11) is coming off knee surgery that ended her senior season at Northeast two years ago. But she had 24 points and 12 rebounds against Dundalk and is running the court well, her coach said.

The five players that Smith will bring off the bench are 5-3 guard Kathy Smith of Northeast, 5-11 guard/forward Brandee Snyder of Severna Park, 5-11 forward Jen Shanahan of Severna Park, 5-11 forward/center Adrian Toles of Meade and 6-1 center Andrea Carter of Arlington Baptist.

Together, they will battle the region's toughest teams -- Frederick, Catonsville and Potomac State.

"I figured we would be in the middle of the pack," Smith said, "but now I think we can contend."

Anne Arundel played its second game yesterday, at Harford. It travels to Montgomery-Rockville on Saturday and doesn't play at home until Jan. 3 against Frederick.

Men's basketball

Anne Arundel won its season-opening game against Baltimore City Community College on Nov. 17 but has struggled since then.

The Pioneers were 2-5 going into last night's game at Montgomery-Germantown -- the other victory coming against Harford on Dec. 4 -- and first-year coach Mike Tummings isn't surprised by his team's early difficulties.

He knew that with just two players back from last season -- guard Gene Pleyo and forward/center Jim Flahaven -- the Pioneers would suffer from inconsistency and fundamental breakdowns. But he also says that the problems shouldn't last.

"We have a good team. It's just taking more time for them to blend than I thought it would," said Cummings, an assistant last year who teaches at Tall Oaks High School in Prince George's County.

"These new guys have moved up to another level and they're recognizing the differences."

The newcomers include 5-11 guard Kevin Brown of Arundel, 5-9 guard Tony Curro of Severna Park, 6-4 guard Mike Mahaney of Glen Burnie, 6-2 forward Shawn Mitchell of Annapolis and 6-1 guard Wendell Williams of Annapolis.

"The one thing I want us to be is as competitive as we can and see how far it takes us," Cummings said. "I think it could take us a little ways. But we've got to rev up the engine and get moving."

Pleyo, a graduate of Northeast, is leading the team in scoring at 24 points a game. Flahaven is averaging around 12 points.

Anne Arundel will be home Saturday against Takoma Park.

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