Meade's Silcott on move on and off the court

January 18, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Tresa Silcott has a tendency to disappoint her basketball coaches.

Not because of her play, but by sticking around just long enough to give them a sampling of her tremendous talent, then abruptly leaving for another school.

It happened to Howard coach Craig O'Connell after last season, and it will happen to Meade coach Molly Wilson sometime in late February. And Wilson already is dreading the moment, as if she stumbled upon a treasure that turned out to be a mirage.

Silcott's disappearing act is no fault of her own, mind you. And neither coach is blaming her. They just wish she would have stayed put, met her vast potential and had their respective programs reap the rewards.

Instead, this 15-year-old daughter of a military family soon will be heading to Texas, where her parents will be stationed. And she surely will peak the interest of yet another coach with her skills -- the ability to escape a double-team, the explosive drive to the basket, the vision that enables her to thread a pass between defenders.

And yes, she can score. Last week, the slender, 5-foot-5 guard was averaging a team-leading 18.1 points a game, and her 10 rebounds were second to senior Connie Fink.

"Basically, I just get out there and give it my best and, hopefully, the players will follow my lead, or I'll follow somebody else's lead," Silcott said before last Tuesday's game at Old Mill.

Silcott got off to a rough start with Howard, running into a wall and fracturing her left wrist in the team's first scrimmage, at St. Mary's. She worked as a scorekeeper until returning to the court in the middle of February, and she helped Howard to its first berth in the 3A state tournament by amassing 27 points and 25 rebounds in the regional playoffs.

In the state semifinals against Walt Whitman, she hit a three-point shot with 1:56 left that cut the Vikings' lead to 34-30. Howard lost the game, 38-36, but Silcott had made a lasting impression on O'Connell, even if their partnership would be brief.

"As good as she's playing now, when she's a junior and a senior, she will be a tremendous player," he said.

When Silcott's family moved to Anne Arundel County during the summer, O'Connell was left with a huge void in his backcourt. Both of last year's starters had graduated, and Silcott's departure further weakened the position.

"When she first told me she was moving, I anticipated her moving out of state," O'Connell said. "When I found out she was at Meade, which is the closest Anne Arundel County school to us, I thought, 'My goodness, why did they move outside the boundary? Why not just stay with us?'"

The Lions began the season ranked No. 12 in the metro area, but have since dropped out of The Baltimore Sun's Top 20. They have struggled on offense, and it pains O'Connell to think about what might have been.

"I was really expecting her to come right in and be our point guard," he said. "Tresa would have added another dimension with her ability to score. And she's an excellent rebounder and a terrific defensive player."

Meade boys basketball coach Butch Young caught a glimpse of Silcott during the summer when she was playing in a pick-up game in the Mustangs' gymnasium. She had her short hair pulled back, and with a style of play not common among girls, Young thought he was watching a future member of his team.

"Butch thought she was a boy at first," said Wilson, whose team is 1-8, with its only win coming over Glen Burnie, 57-43, when Silcott had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. "She has the instincts of a boy. She's very intense, a competitor to the very end."

Silcott didn't know much about Meade's program before she arrived. She wasn't aware the Mustangs had gone 0-20 last year and hadn't enjoyed a winning season since 1989-90.

She won't be returning to the state playoffs.

"It's always a struggle," she said. "Losing is hard. A lot of times I've lost my cool, but I'm doing my best to keep my head up. If I get down, the rest of the team will get down, too."

Her biggest challenge before that had been regaining her confidence after the injury. "I was scared to use my left hand," she said. "I worked on it during the summer. I went to the gym and just dribbled, dribbled, dribbled."

Soon, she will be bouncing to yet another school.

"It's hard, starting at one school and then moving," she said.

"It figures," Wilson said. "I was saying, 'It's about time we get somebody coming in like this, and she's leaving.' That's our kind of luck."

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