All-anne Arundel County Girls Basketball Team

March 15, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko

COACH OF THE YEAR

Dave Griffith, Annapolis -- While practically every other coach in the county was tabbing Annapolis as the overwhelming favorite in the Class 4A league, Griffith sounded a bit more cautious. In his first season as head coach after three years as an assistant to Teresa Ross, Griffith sensed that the Panthers would struggle early. And he was right. The first five games produced four losses -- to Westminster, Old Mill, Severna Park and St. Mary's -- and there were whispers that Annapolis was overrated. But Griffith wouldn't allow his players to stop believing in themselves, and they gained enough momentum to win 18 of their next 20 games -- including three road victories in the region playoffs -- and made their first trip to the state tournament since 1981. "What made me a better coach, in the long run, was having to deal with that adversity in the beginning, trying to get these kids to stay together, go back out and work hard," he said. "We started getting them all together and doing things off the basketball court, like going to the movies, or the team captains would call everyone and they'd go to dinner." He also designed game plans to make better use of center Shannon Henderson, or to spread defenses and allow point guard Cristi Samaras more room to operate. And he used the talents of players like Emily Nugent -- an effective outside shooter -- and defensive specialist Artina Trader. As the season wore on, Griffith often said, "The only ones who believe in Annapolis is Annapolis," and that became a rallying cry for his players.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR Shannon Henderson, Annapolis, 6-1, Sr., C -- This was the season when it all came together for Henderson. No academic problems, no benchings. Just lots of scoring, rebounding, shot blocking and leadership. The focus strictly was on what occurred on the court, not off it. "This has been my best season," she said, "because overall, I've improved as a player and as a teammate." Going into the state tournament, Henderson led the Panthers in scoring at 18.5 points a game, was first in the county in rebounding at 16.3, and had 83 blocks. She also was second in assists at 3.8 a game and third in steals with 45. "She was their bread and butter," said Severna Park coach Kevin McGrath. "If you don't stop her, you don't have a prayer." Not many teams came close to stopping her. With her size and strength, she took over games like few other players in the metro area. She was too much for Old Mill to handle in the region semifinals, scoring 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. In the previous game, against Arundel, she had 23 points and 20 rebounds. In the state semifinals, she had 19 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocks. And she totaled 41 points and 29 rebounds in leading Annapolis to the championship of its Christmas Tournament. Often overlooked, however, was Henderson's improved passing. When asked for a personal highlight from the season, she chose a triple-double against North County (30 points, 27 rebounds and 10 assists). "Most centers don't pass, they just either score or rebound. I'm more all-around, which is what I like about myself," she said. There are quite a few college coaches who like Henderson, too. Among the schools trying to sign her are Syracuse, North Carolina-Wilmington and Pfeiffer (N.C.).

FIRST TEAM Annetta Davis, St. Mary's, 5-10, Jr., F -- A gifted athlete, Davis topped the county in scoring at 21.4 points a game, and was second in rebounding at 15.9, leading St. Mary's to the Catholic League final. She led the team with 64 steals, had 23 blocks, shot 55 percent from the field and dominated games like few other players in the metro area, making it easy to forget this is just her third year of organized basketball. "She's come a long way," said coach Harry Dobson.

Kerri Eland, Old Mill, 5-11, Jr., F -- There aren't many things Eland can't do on a basketball court. This season, she led Old Mill in scoring at around 12 points a game, and in rebounding with eight, as Old Mill clinched the No. 1 seeding in the region playoffs. "She's just a good all-around player," said coach Pat Chance. "She played well defensively, she rebounded well and she shot well."

Sandy Jenkin, Severna Park, 5-9, Jr., F -- Jenkin emerged as one of the county's bigger surprises this season, leading the Falcons in scoring with 12.8 points a game. Versatile enough to also play in the backcourt, she averaged 5.5 rebounds, had 36 assists, made 35 steals and blocked 28 shots. "She has a very smooth shot," said coach Kevin McGrath.

Pam Patterson, South River, 6-0, Sr., C -- One of the more consistent players in the area, Patterson led South River to an unexpected berth in the Class 2A state tournament. She ranked second in the county in scoring at 19.9 points a game and averaged 12.0 rebounds. She was especially dominant in the region playoffs, totaling 76 points and 55 rebounds in three victories. Patterson has accepted a volleyball scholarship to Towson State University.

Cristi Samaras, Annapolis, 5-6, Sr., G -- Was there a harder working player in the county than Samaras? She averaged 13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists going into the state tournament, but may have been most valuable at disrupting opposing offenses with her quick hands and hustle, which led to 122 steals. A three-sport standout, she is being recruited mostly for lacrosse. Princeton, Temple and Maryland are among the schools trying to sign her.

Bridget Smith, St. Mary's, 5-6, Sr., G -- Called "awfully hard to replace" by coach Harry Dobson, Smith led the metro area in assists with 11 a game and also averaged 10.4 points and 2.9 rebounds. "She could have scored whatever she wanted," Dobson said. "She only shot six or seven times a game. She held the team together in the tough games." Smith received a scholarship from UMBC.

PICKING THE TEAM

The All-Anne Arundel County girls basketball team was selected by Roch Eric Kubatko after consultation with county coaches.

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