Harford County teams taking aim at state titles

March 10, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

Three of the 10 undefeated teams playing in the state high school basketball tournaments will be on display when Harford County teams go into action tomorrow.

In the girls program at UMBC, Fallston (21-0) and Middletown (23-0) will put their unblemished marks on the line in a Class 2A semifinal at 3 p.m., and Joppatowne will play Southern-Garrett in a Class 1A semifinal matchup of 17-3 entries at 7 p.m.

On the boys side, Edgewood (17-4), headed to Cole Field House at the University of Maryland for the third time in four years, will oppose Allegany (24-0), the defending Class 2A champion working on a school-record 30-game winning streak, at 7 p.m.

This will be the the third straight state tournament (first in 2A) for Fallston coach Nancy Ferguson and four junior starters -- Lori Heffley, Candy Credito, Suzy Harrison, and Jenny Weber. They lost in the final two years ago and in the semifinals last year, each time to Williamsport in Class 1A.

The Cougars feature excellent defense and team balance. Ferguson uses as many as 13 players, and 11 of them scored in both regional wins, against Catonsville and Towson. The team averages 61 points (and allows 32), and Heffley (at 10.7) has the only double-figure scoring average.

Middletown has similar scoring marks -- 64-32 -- and is working on a 49-game winning streak. The Knights start two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore, with three of them averaging at least 10 points and five rebounds.

Where Fallston has had state tournament experience, this is the first appearance for Joppatowne and second-year coach Lynette Shelley. Two years ago, the Mariners, with a losing record, made the regionals as a low seed. Last year, they again reached the regionals, finishing 13-12.

This year, starting four seniors and a sophomore, Joppatowne lost its opener to John Carroll, won 12 in a row, then had two losses to Fallston in its last five regular-season starts.

Brandi Barnes, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, has been an intimidating force in the middle with averages of 14 points and 14 rebounds. Of the seniors, Dionna Bishop has done an excellent job, averaging 10 points and totaling 12 steals, and 5-foot Lauren Glaze is a solid point guard.

Led by Glaze with a 4.0 average, the starters have a combined grade-point average of 3.5.

"Brandi was on the JV last year, and I thought we would have to work with her on her inside play this season, but she is such a quick learner,she fit in right away," Shelley said.

She and the players also have benefited from assistant coach Roy Washington.

"He's great because he neutralizes me," Shelley said. "I'm intense and tunnel-minded about coaching. I'm about business.

He calms the players and has such diversity that he can help them with their individual skill levels."

Carrie Newcomb, a 5-8 senior averaging 17 points and eight rebounds, leads Southern-Garrett, which comes in with a 15-game winning streak.

Easton, the defending champion, has Kelly Gibson, a 5-11 senior who already has signed with Maryland. She averages 28 points and 15 rebounds.

At Edgewood, coach Bob Slagle figures to be in a better position this time than a year ago, when the Rams had one of their worst games of the season in losing to Hereford in the state Class 1A semifinals.

"We have several back from that team, and everybody got a look at that kind of atmosphere when they played at the [Baltimore] Arena last month," he said. Edgewood defeated Hammond, 73-36, in one of the Fuel Fund games.

Such is the balance of this team that 12 players have played more than 100 minutes each, and two former starters, seniors Julius Christy and Kenton Worthington, have been coming off the bench of late to play impressively.

Senior Alfred McAllister is the leading scorer at 13.8, and junior Eric Briggs averages 13.4 points and 10.0 rebounds.

Allegany coach Toby Eirich returns three starters from last year's 24-2 team, including 6-2 D. J. Jessie, who averages 21 points and nine rebounds.

The other 2A boys entries also are defending champions. Dunbar won in Class 1A and Potomac won in Class 3A.

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