Pioneers capture state JuCo title

March 03, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

It finally happened -- after nearly 20 years.

The Anne Arundel Community College women's basketball team won the Maryland JuCo championship over the weekend, defeating top-seeded and 10th-ranked Frederick CC, 76-64, in Sunday's final at Dundalk CC. The Pioneers' last won a state JuCo title in 1975.

Anne Arundel (18-3), seeded No. 2, travels to Frederick tomorrow for a 5 p.m. game against seventh-seeded Garrett in the first round of the Region XX tournament. Frederick is the No. 1 seed, and Potomac State is third.

What did Sunday's victory mean to coach Tom Smith? Probably much more than if it had come against someone other than Frederick, which defeated Anne Arundel twice during the regular season.

"It was a great win. Every kid on the team stepped up and did their part," he said.

"Coming into the year, I knew we had a heck of a team. And we felt all along that we'd be very competitive and have a real shot at doing some great things this year."

Center Debbi Dadds, a Northeast graduate, led Anne Arundel with 25 points and 16 rebounds and was presented with the tournament's Most Valuable Player award. She also was named to the All-JuCo first team.

Team captain Lindee Sisk (Southern) -- the Pioneers' only sophomore -- added 17 points despite playing with a sprained ankle and a black eye. She was named to the All-JuCo second team.

Denise Perrone (Chesapeake) contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds, and joined Dadds and Sisk on the All-Tournament team.

Stephanie Carpenter (Arundel) scored six points and made two key defensive plays late in the second half.

Dadds has made a full recovery from a sprained ankle suffered last month, but the same injury could keep Sisk from tomorrow's opening round. Playing at power forward, she is averaging 14.2 points and nearly four assists and "gives us a real balanced game," Smith said.

"She's blended in so nicely with the young group. I never expected her to have the season she's had, with her leadership on and off the floor and the role she's played."

Sisk went down with six minutes left in the Frederick game. She had X-rays taken on the ankle Monday and Smith called her status for tomorrow "very questionable."

"If we get Lindee back, and she comes back like Debbi did, we canplay with anybody," he said. "We've already beaten the first and third seeds. If she can't play, the coaching strategy on matchups and what we have to do offensively and defensively totally changes. We're usually a team that's very hard to match up with."

Alina Smith (Arundel) will play despite a broken knuckle on her left hand. Normally the point guard, she has rotated to the wing and continued to give Anne Arundel solid passing and defense. She ranks second in the region in assists, averaging 6.2 per game.

"She has a rough time with her hand wrapped, handling the ball," said Tom Smith, "but we need Alina out there. She's had a tremendous year. I don't think most people realize what she does for us defensively. She's handled some of the great offensive players, and I rarely take her out unless she's in foul trouble."

Dadds ranks ninth in the nation in scoring at 19.2 points a game, and is averaging 16.5 rebounds.

The Pioneers are third in the nation in team defense, allowing just 48.8 points a game. And they will need a strong effort to contain Garrett guard Michelle Dueling, who averages around 25 points. She had 23 in a losing cause against Anne Arundel earlier this season.

If Anne Arundel wins, it will meet either Potomac State or Hagerstown on Saturday. The final is Sunday.

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