When Old Mill senior Michelle Salmon took the floor against Annapolis two weeks ago, she knew something that her coach, Pat Chance, didn't.
It would be Salmon's last basketball game.
Salmon, 17, a member of three consecutive Class 4A state championship teams, informed Chance at the next day's practice that she was leaving the squad to devote more time to playing soccer.
She has been invited along with 21 other girls from across the country to participate in the U.S. Soccer organization's under-20 national training camp in Walnut Creek, Calif., March 4-13, where she will play in games against Santa Clara University, St. Mary's College andthe University of California-Berkley.
With the region and state playoffs taking place during that time, and with her already busy schedule becoming more crowded, it was impossible for Salmon to remain on the basketball team, she said.
"I really didn't want to leave my basketball team, but this is something you work for your whole life and you can't pass it up," she said.
Salmon, who led Old Mill with 17 points in a 65-32 win over Glen Burnie last month, had been chosen to the Olympic Development Program's under-20 national soccer pool after tryouts in November in Boca Raton, Fla.
She also qualified for the U.S. Youth Soccer Association's under-17 All-America team, and she has accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Maryland.
A 5-foot-5 guard, she was a part-time starter for Old Mill's basketball team last year and was the leading returning scorer this season at around five points a game.
"This was a really tough decision for her," said her mother, Carol.
"She's had four years on the varsity and she really admirers Pat Chance as a coach. And it's been tough on her father and I, too. We love watching her play. She's never quit at anything, but something had to give."
"I had no idea she was leaving until she told me," said Chance, whose team is 15-3 and ranked No. 10. "This hurts us depth-wise. We have somewhat of a young team, so we lose a lot of experience. She's played in a lot of pressure games, so we lose something there, too."
Salmon, who was averaging around seven points, also will not play lacrosse this spring.