Howard girls looking for step up Star missing: Lions must play against Douglass of PG County in state tournament without Megan Boehm, who has to spread her athletic ability around.

March 06, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Sometimes statistics lie. This is not one of those times.

Howard's girls basketball team is 8-4 when Megan Boehm plays, 5-8 when she doesn't.

Tomorrow, the Lions play Douglass of Prince George's County in a Class 3A state semifinal game at 7 p.m. at UMBC.

Boehm will be 3,000 miles away in San Diego.

"No question about it, it's a big loss," said Howard coach Craig O'Connell. "It's going to hurt us."

Boehm, a Parade All-America soccer goalie who will attend Virginia on scholarship this fall, is in San Diego trying to make the under-20 national soccer team.

A 5-foot-11 senior, Boehm's value to the Lions is rebounding and defense. She also is a good athlete who makes everyone around her play better.

"She adds a lot," said Howard center Chanelle Carter. "We're going to miss her."

Still, the Lions are not ready to concede to Douglass, which is 22-3 and ranked 11th in The Washington Post poll.

"I think we can still win," said Carter, a 5-foot-10 junior who averages 19 points and seven rebounds. "Everyone is going to have to step it up because she's not here. I hope we play as well as we have in the regional games."

The No. 16 Lions (13-12) are a young team, and sometimes this season have had three freshmen playing together. Boehm's absence leaves Yamika Blackston, a 5-foot-11 forward, as the only senior on the team, and she must play well if Howard is to be competitive.

"She's got to have a really good game for us to win," O'Connell said.

"I have to play like a senior," said Blackston, who averages six points and eight rebounds. "I have to play my best."

Freshman forward Latoya Hines strained her left knee in the Lions' 42-32 victory Friday over Broadneck for the East region championship. She was at last night's practice but did not take part in drills.

"I think I'll be fine by Thursday," said Hines, who averages four points and seven rebounds.

Carter and Blackston were members of Howard's state championship team two years ago, and the Lions will need their experience against Douglass.

The Eagles were 3A co-champions with Friendly in Prince's George's County. They played two Howard County teams over the holiday break this season in the Capital City Classic.

Douglass beat county champion Wilde Lake, 62-48, and lost to Hammond, 42-39, at the buzzer. Howard lost twice to Wilde Lake and Hammond this season.

According to Douglass co-coaches Ed Cowan and Ed McDonald, the Eagles have been smaller than every team they have faced this season, but have plenty of weapons, starting with Torrie Scott, a quick point guard who averages 15 points, 10 assists and six steals.

"As she goes, we go," said McDonald.

Douglass' success is built around its speed and its bench, and the Eagles' plan is to press from the opening tap.

"We rely on quickness and we try to keep fresh legs in the game," said Cowan. "We go 10-deep and substitute freely. Whether we're up 10 points or down 10, we play hard the whole game. These kids don't quit."

O'Connell said Howard also plays better in an up-tempo game. However, he is considering a change of strategy.

"I think we're going to have to slow it down," said O'Connell, whose Lions reached the state semifinals three years ago. "We'll play some zone and hopefully control the boards and give them one shot."

The Lions have a history of playoff surprises, but without Boehm, it will be a challenge.

"I feel confident," said Blackston. "I think we can do it."

Pub Date: 3/06/96

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