Lister proves Owls' inside link

January 31, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

A roster full of new players always brings some questions at the start of a new season.

When Westminster girls coach Bernie Koontz lost nine players from last year's varsity team, most had to be thinking rebuilding season for the Owls.

Guess again.

At 7-4, the Owls are off to their best start since Koontz took over the program three years ago. A big reason why is the inside play of 5-foot-11 junior Beth Lister.

After spending last season on the junior varsity, Lister has stepped in and averaged around 14 points and nine rebounds a game this season. She's been the perfect complement to Owls versatile returning forward Julie Backof and is feeling at home at the varsity level.

Koontz was relying on a solid contribution from Lister this season, but had no idea she would be leading the county in scoring midway through the season.

"She showed a lot of potential last year and worked really hard in the offseason to get ready," Koontz said.

"She has good size and we knew she would be strong on the boards and score some putback points, but a lot of her points are coming from offensive moves. She's getting open, making moves and our guards are doing a great job of getting her the ball."

Lister, 16, gives a lot of credit for her improved play to the Mason-Dixon Basketball Camp at Mount St. Mary's College, which she attended last summer. And to think she didn't even want to go.

"I was nervous about going to camp because I thought I'd get homesick," she said.

"I wanted to work on my shooting and going up strong and the camp helped me out a lot. A group of us from Westminster High went and it was really fun."

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Lister's season so far has been her consistency. She's reached double-figures in nine of the Owls' 11 games this season with a career-high 23 against Arundel.

"She has a very nice touch for a post player and doesn't just play with her back to the basket," Koontz said.

"She can also hit from 10 to 15 feet and that helps bring out [opponent's] post players. She also has good quickness."

Lister said the key to the Owls' success so far this season has been teamwork.

"We all have a lot of good abilities and have been able to put it all together and come out on the good end," she said.

"Everyone gets along real well and we're having fun -- that makes it easy."

Only Backof, Lauren Zuskin and Lauren Kadlubowski had varsity experience going into the season. Lister, Cassandra Conklin and Jill Ibex have picked up the slack and then some for the Owls.

"The entire team has very strong work habits and all want to do well," Koontz said.

"The best way for everyone to do well is to play together and they enjoy doing that."

Lister also plays volleyball in the fall and softball in the spring for the Owls. Her favorite sport? That's an easy one:

"Basketball, it more of a team sport and there's a lot more action," she said.

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