Granite Baptist off and running

December 14, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Not every girls basketball coach in the county was looking forward to beginning the season, but Larry Led- better of Granite Baptist and Lori Insley of Annapolis Area Christian School couldn't wait to get started.

And no wonder. Take a look at how their teams fared last winter, and then look at who's back. The season couldn't get under way soon enough.

At Granite Baptist, whose program is entering its third year of existence, Ledbetter returns all five starters from a team that improved from 1-9 to 9-8 and won the Chesapeake Christian Athletic Conference championship, defeating Clinton Christian by 28 points in the final.

This year, the Braves are competing in the Potomac Christian Athletic Conference, and they are off to a 3-0 start. In their opener on Tuesday, they raced out to a 23-0 lead and coasted to a 50-7 triumph over Perry Hall Christian. And on Thursday, they routed Clinton, 37-20. Yesterday, they beat Grace Bible, 85-7.

"We've got good athletes on this team," Ledbetter said.

None is better than the two leading scorers from last season, 5-7 junior forward Michele Tanner and 5-2 sophomore guard Stephanie Donaldson. They both averaged around 12 points last season, and Tanner grabbed 14 rebounds a game.

"The first five games of our first year, Michele didn't score a point. Now, she could play public-school ball, and Stephanie probably could, as well," Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter stresses an up-tempo game, and that means "we're really big on conditioning," he said. "We beat a lot of teams last year in the fourth quarter."

He expects the Braves to beat a lot of teams, thanks to the eight returning players and three newcomers who show a lot of promise.

Bringing varsity experience to the team are 5-3 senior guard Kara Donaldson, 5-11 sophomore center Amy Spurlin, 5-7 sophomore forward Caree Baab, 5-3 sophomore guard Kristy Pumphrey, 5-6 sophomore forward/center Carolyn Gilde and 5-6 freshman forward Jen Felts. Felts played last season as an eighth-grader.

Two seventh-graders have made the varsity: 5-4 guards Amanda Donaldson and Alana Stubbs. Donaldson had seven points and three assists against Perry Hall Christian. Stubbs' father is 6-8, "so her height could change drastically," Ledbetter said, laughing.

Granite starts three sophomores, so it will be one of the younger -- and probably more successful -- teams in the conference. "The future really looks good," Ledbetter said

And so does the present.

"We've got a couple games on our schedule that are going to be really tough. If we can get past those, we'll be looking pretty

good," Ledbetter said.

Annapolis Area Christian School finished third in the Christian Schools Athletic Association last year, but the Eagles won their tournament to cap an 18-3 season.

Two starters are gone -- "both key players," Insley said -- but the other three all averaged more than 10 points a game.

The trio includes 5-8 freshman point guard Heidi Moldenhauer, who made the All-League team as an eighth-grader. She joins two 5-11 forward/centers, senior Rosalind Brown and sophomore Becca Thorpe.

Brown scored a team-high nine points in Tuesday's 45-23 loss to Severn School. Thorpe was sidelined with the flu.

Also back from last year are juniors Becky Hickey (5-6 guard), Tina Tate (5-7 guard) and Debbie Dorsey (5-7 guard/forward) and sophomore Jenny McClain (5-6 guard).

Two junior newcomers to the varsity are in the starting lineup -- 5-7 forward/guard Cara Brady and 5-6 guard Kristy Williams. Senior guard Stacy Sardella (5-6) and sophomore forward/center Jocelyn Estes (5-11) also have been added to the team.

The Eagles won their opener, 25-23, over Riverdale Baptist, before losing to Severn. Last season, they suffered a couple of early losses before some "fine-tuning and maturing" led to the conference title.

"I think they're capable of doing the same thing," said Insley, who recently was married in Michigan and had been away from the team until last week. "This time, we'd like to win the league and then win the tournament at the end.

"We should be able to push the ball up the floor. What we lost in leadership, we made up for in speed."

And the Eagles, like Granite Baptist, seem poised to make another run at a championship.

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