Wright's James courting more success

C. M.

January 23, 1994|By Mark Hoeflich | Mark Hoeflich,Contributing Writer

C. Milton Wright's Miranda James proves to be an impact player no matter what sport she plays.

Already noted as one of Harford County's best soccer players, James led the Mustangs' girls soccer team to a county championship, finishing first on the team in goals scored for the second season and earning All-County honors.

Now, James carries that success on to the basketball court, where she leads the Mustangs in scoring (11.6 points) and is second in rebounds (8.3) after four games.

Those numbers -- which have her ranked among the area's leaders -- even surprise James, who said her chances of making the varsity squad were much better than those of earning a starting position.

tTC Playing at either shooting guard or forward, James, one of four sophomore starters, is shooting 46.2 percent from the field and has played a major role in Wright's 4-2 start.

"Whatever sport I play, I just try my hardest," said James. "I just go out there and do whatever I can; whichever sport is in season I enjoy."

James' shooting range, said head coach Gloria Liedlich, is the best the Mustangs have ever had -- the sophomore once hit 11 straight three-pointers in practice -- and her excellent speed and quickness add a new dimension to the Mustangs and allow Liedlich to change her philosophy in game situations.

"As a team she gets our fast-break going and we are better in our transition game when she is in there," said Liedlich. "Also, with her in there, we may be able to go full-court man press," said Liedlich.

Although James devotes most of her time to soccer, playing year round, she attended a basketball camp for the first time over the summer and admitted it has helped her this season.

And James also added that while the transition from soccer to basketball does seem a little strange, it hasn't made for any increased pressure.

"I'm going to try my hardest to do what I'm still doing," said James. "I didn't expect to do anything this year so I didn't have any pressure on me to do well."

If James' pace continues, she likely will come close to matching some of Wright's all-time scorers, and she is averaging more points than any other sophomore in the history of the school.

And while both James and Liedlich agree that James' ball-handling skills are what need the most work, Liedlich believes James' speed and quickness more than make up for that.

"I really don't think she has achieved her basketball level," said Liedlich. "There are a lot of little skills she can work on to be better, and she has begun to do that, but other than that she has kind of bubbled up and become a big leader for us.

"Her athletic ability, her stamina, endurance, quickness are unbelievable, and she is very team-oriented as well as very coachable. The way she anticipates things and recognizes the openings are unbelievable."

So just how good could James become?

"She is athletic enough that if she just incorporates a summer camp or a small routine she will be a phenomenal basketball player," said Liedlich. "Miranda is a tremendous asset to our basketball team and the other girls complement her. She will be able to write her own ticket to wherever she wants to go in the sport she chooses."

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