North Carroll's Mays is star for all seasons

January 03, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

It's winter, so North Carroll senior Teresa Mays often can be found diving for loose balls on the hardwood.

For years, Mays has made a living of being right smack in the middle of things for the Panthers, whatever the season.

In the fall it was soccer, as time after time she would come strong out of the goal to cut off a cross or beat an attacker to a ball just inside the penalty area.

When spring rolls around, she's behind the plate for the Panthers' softball team. It's not her favorite of the three sports. Why? "The big difference is it's not as physical and sometimes can even get kind of boring," she said.

After playing most of the previous two years out on the wing for the Panthers' basketball team, Mays has stayed inside this season and -- despite being only 5 feet 7 -- has looked right at home averaging about 10 points and 10 rebounds.

"Here's a kid who's been around for four years and it's just remarkable she's a senior. I remember her as a freshman and we weren't sure where she would play, so we just put her out there, said North Carroll coach Greg Knill.

"This summer she told me she wanted to go back inside. She's a little small to play forward, but tenacious and just goes after it. She gets plenty of rebounds and is very active around the basket."

The Panthers are 3-5 after a second-place finish in their own holiday tournament last week. They avenged an earlier season loss to Francis Scott Key in the first round before coming up short despite a respectable showing against metro-ranked Glenelg in the finals.

Mays is one of six seniors on the squad, but clearly the vocal leader who keeps everybody up.

"Our record could be better, but we're playing pretty well right now," Mays said. "I feel I've been around for three years so I try and help out with things and everybody listens to me."

Knill took notice long before her first year of varsity as a sophomore.

"I remember seeing her as an eighth-grader and I thought, 'Is this girl crazy or what?' " Knill said.

In a junior varsity game as a freshman, she scored at the wrong end of the floor and had the officials all turned around. As a sophomore on varsity, she was brash enough to say "no problem" about an upcoming opponent with Knill and former standout forward Michelle Jeffery -- a senior at the time -- looking at one another in amazement.

The same year, Mays started in a regional final and has been a mainstay ever since.

"She's come a long way since then," said Knill. "She plays with a lot of emotion and has been a leader the past two years. All the seniors have a special thing about them and she's the one who steps up at practice and says, 'Let's go.' "

Her aggressive play sometimes gets her into foul trouble, but it's the only way she knows how to play. It's something you can't take away and why she thrives near the basket.

"All the teams I've played on here, the inside players have been the go-to players," she said. "There's some that are a lot taller, but we haven't played too many teams that have had overpowering players."

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