With bench pitching in, Westminster charges to 10-0

January 13, 1995|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

Lauren Henry hums "Row, row, row your boat."

Sherry Esposito watches the game closely and hopes she won't make the same mistakes as the starter when she's called into action.

Alyson Young fixes her eyes on shooting guards Cassandra Conklin and Lauren Kadlubowski and prepares herself to replace them.

Courtney Wunderlich just tries to be ready to play when coach Bernie Koontz calls her name.

A variety of thoughts stream through the minds of the four members of the bench of the Westminster girls basketball team (10-0), as they wait for their moment on the court.

Henry, Young, Wunderlich and Esposito have become a close-knit group, sharing the same dreams of success for their team and themselves.

Of course, all four want to play as much as possible and contribute to what appears to be one of the most successful girls basketball teams in the history of their school.

But they have not complained and they all have been willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the team.

That kind of attitude certainly comes easier for sophomores such as Henry and Wunderlich and for Esposito, a junior, than it does for Young, a senior.

This is Young's last hurrah and she has performed well when coming off the bench, with her specialty being the three-point shot.

Young has tossed in seven three-pointers, good enough to lead the team. She is also a steady player at shooting guard and played a major role in the Owls' 57-39 semifinal victory over Bryn Mawr in the Poly tournament.

When several of the starters got into early foul trouble against Bryn Mawr, Young, Henry, Wunderlich and Esposito each were called on to play approximately 10 minutes in the game.

Young and Henry scored four points apiece, and Wunderlich and Esposito each had two, giving Koontz 12 points from his bench. The four reserves also played smart ball and gained the confidence of the starters.

"I have confidence in them and the other girls [starters] have confidence in them," said Koontz.

"The starters aren't afraid to pass them the ball. When they came into the Bryn Mawr game, they maintained almost the same playing level as the starters."

At the start of the season, when it became apparent that Koontz was going to have only nine players, he was a little concerned.

"You always worry about not having enough numbers, but with the quality of our four subs this season it has eased my concerns a lot," he said.

Life also has become a lot easier for Koontz because his 13th-ranked team has blended perfectly. The fact that there is no friction between the starters and reserves has been a major factor in what has been a magical season.

Young is an example of the spirit that pervades the team..

In Wednesday night's 63-51 victory over previously unbeaten Montgomery Blair on the road, Young provided encouragement to the team's scoring leader, Beth Lister (21.6 points a game), who was having a frustrating first half, scoring only six points.

Lister came out in the third quarter and scored 10 and added seven points in the fourth quarter for 23 points.

Young said: "Everyone is working together and the great start has given us a lot of confidence.

"We know South Carroll [10-1 and No. 9] is ranked ahead of us but that's because they have three players [Nicole Spencer, Amber Clutter and Melissa Gettemy] who are playing together on the varsity for the fourth year."

Westminster, playing at home, upset the Cavaliers last season in the only meeting between the two to capture the county championship.

South Carroll did not get a chance for revenge because the game scheduled for its home court had to be canceled because of snow.

Now Young said Westminster's goal is to "blow South Carroll out of the water at their place."

Young and the Owls will get a chance to do that Tuesday night at South Carroll at 7.

But before Westminster meets the Cavaliers, the Owls run into Linganore, the four-time defending Central Maryland Conference champions, tonight at Linganore at 7:30.

Certainly, Young, Henry, Esposito and Wunderlich will have to continue their outstanding play in the next two games for the Owls to remain unbeaten.

"The biggest thrill for me this season is the fact we're 10-0," said Wunderlich, a remark that seemed to sum up the feelings of her fellow reserves.

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