Not much is stopping Hammond girls

January 11, 1995|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

Friday night's icy weather forced postponement of the Hammond girls basketball game against highly regarded Gar-Field in Woodbridge, Va.

Unfortunately for the No. 2 Golden Bears, the decision to postpone came after they were already on the bus headed down I-95.

"It was the bus trip from hell," said Bears coach Joe Russo. "We got caught in traffic, and it took us three hours to get there. Then we had to turn around and come right back."

Russo still is trying to reschedule the game against one of the toughest opponents the Bears will face this season. Gar-Field, ranked No. 5 by the Washington Post, was 9-0 going into last night's game. Hammond (6-2) is ranked ninth in the Post coaches' top 20 poll that includes no other Howard County teams.

But the Bears have been on a roll lately. Since falling to Western in the Fuel Fund Classic on Dec. 17, they have won four straight, including victories over No. 4 St. Frances and No. 7 Severna Park in the Holly Division of the Holly and Hoops Tournament.

Before the season, Russo said he would be happy to emerge from nonleague play with a .500 record. The Bears have exceeded those hopes, going 5-2 against out-of-county competition in addition to beating Centennial in Thursday's league opener.

"We're kind of excited that we're 6-2," said Russo, "especially over the tournament with losing Tiki [Nicholson] and having the other kids step up. We're just getting better and better as we're playing."

The Bears face their first big in-county test today, playing host to No. 14 Howard at 5 p.m.

A happy holiday

Local girls basketball teams had a remarkable run through holiday tournaments, bringing home four championships. In addition to Hammond's Holly and Hoops title, Howard, Glenelg and Atholton won trophies.

Glenelg won the North Carroll Tournament, Howard took the Liberty Belle and Atholton won its Central Maryland Tournament.

In 14 tournament games, Howard public school teams finished 10-4.

One of those games was an automatic loss because Glenelg met Centennial in the opening round at North Carroll.

Centennial and Mount Hebron (Hoops Division of Holly and Hoops) rebounded to win consolation games. Only Oakland Mills lost twice, but the Scorpions were short-handed at the Meade Tournament, with three starters playing soccer in Miami.

All-America season

Oakland Mills graduate Tyann Blissett earned All-America honors after a splendid season with the women's soccer team at Brevard College in North Carolina.

Brevard went all the way to the junior college national championship game in November. Although her team lost to Champlain College of Vermont, 5-0, in the title game, Blissett was named to the all-tournament team. Soon after, she was honored as a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American.

Last year as a freshman striker, Blissett scored 11 goals, but this year she switched to defense.

"We had a lot of injuries, so we put her back at sweeper and ended up ranked No. 1 in the country with a chance to go to nationals," said Brevard coach Joe Bartlinski. "Tyann's as skilled as anyone I've ever coached. She's fast and quick as anyone. She's got a lot of raw talent."

Bartlinski said Blissett plans to continue at a four-year college, but she has not decided where.

Arkansas bound

Wilde Lake's Lindsay Waxler has signed a letter of intent to play soccer at Arkansas next fall.

Highly recruited despite losing part of her senior season to illness, Waxler said she was drawn to Arkansas because of the school's emphasis on women's sports.

"The support they get is kind of like college football. They have a separate women's athletic department. They have their own field house with locker rooms and a training room, their own field and a 2,000-seat stadium just for women's soccer," said Waxler. Arkansas does not have a men's soccer program.

Waxler, who plays for the Columbia Express under-19 team, carries a 3.2 grade-point average and plans to major in communications.

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