For Glenelg girls team, 16 wins would be sweet

January 16, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

The chalk figure on the blackboard says it all -- 16 W's.

Sixteen wins. Glenelg's No. 17 girls basketball team needs no more incentive than that.

"Every day before a game, the first thing I write on the board for the kids is '16 W's,' " said second-year coach Randy Wallenhorst. "The next thing is, 'Nobody plays harder.' "

The Gladiators proved how tough they can play at the North Carroll Holiday Tournament the week after Christmas. In the title game, they bounced back from an 18-point deficit to edge their hosts, 50-48.

"I think we proved that no matter what, we can play together and do what we have to to win," said senior center Trish Kilroy, who scored 14 of her season-high 25 points in the final quarter of that game. "It shows what kind of team we are."

In Howard County, the Gladiators passed their first big test Wednesday by beating No. 19 Wilde Lake, 45-35, without much trouble. That win establishes Glenelg as the third-best team in Howard County behind No. 2 Hammond and No. 6 Mount Hebron.

"We felt that way all along," Kilroy said. "We didn't need the Wilde Lake game to tell us. But now that we've beaten them, it proves to everybody else how we stand."

With Friday night's win over Centennial, the Gladiators surpassed last year's overall win total, improving to 10-1 overall and 3-0 in the Howard County League. They have won eight straight since falling to Thomas Johnson in mid-December.

Coming off a 9-13 record, the Gladiators are well on their way to becoming the county's turnaround team of the year.

Wallenhorst said the drive to win comes from the players, who worked together last summer at camp and in the North Carroll summer league.

When they returned to Glenelg, the Gladiators had improved all their skills, especially ball-handling. Led by junior point guard Kim Brown, the Gladiators average 15 turnovers -- about a third of last year's per-game total.

"Last year, everybody pressed us to death," Wallenhorst said. "In our last three games [through Wilde Lake], we only turned the ball over 31 times. That's really good. Nobody has been able to full-court press us, because we don't give up the ball that easily."

The Gladiators have improved their offense, too, showing a strong balance. Kilroy leads the way with 11.2 points and 8.6 rebounds, followed by Brown with 8.7 points and 3.9 assists.

Three more players average seven or more points -- senior guard Christina Flowers, 7.8; sophomore guard Jill Younce, 7.6; and freshman sixth man Camey Brian, 7.0. Junior forward Gracia Walker, a transfer from Glenelg Country School, contributes 3.1 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Flowers says a year of playing together has made all the difference.

"Last year, we were just thrown together. Now, we have the experience. Everyone's looking for the best thing for the team. We just want to win, and we're having more fun than we ever had," she said.

The Gladiators get a kick out of being atop the Howard County standings, though they know it probably won't last. Their schedule hits its toughest stretch this week with Howard on Wednesday and Hammond and Mount Hebron on the next two Fridays, respectively.

The players and Wallenhorst give themselves a chance to beat anyone, but they remain realistic about Hammond and Mount Hebron. They know the level of play is much higher than any

teams they have played so far.

"We don't expect to go in and beat Hammond and Mount Hebron," Wallenhorst said. "But I do expect us to play harder than the other team. If we play very well, I think we can play with anybody. If we lose, that's OK as long as we play hard."

In addition to getting 16 wins, Glenelg would like to go at least one step farther in the Class 2A regional championships. Last season, they reached the semifinals before losing to North Carroll by one point.

Of course, the Gladiators have a tough route through the playoffs because it almost certainly runs through Hammond, two-time defending regional champion. Still, the Gladiators remain optimistic.

"We want to continue our season as long as we can," Flowers said.

"Yeah," Kilroy added, "because I don't want to leave."

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