Team previews LOCAL SPORTS: GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEWS

December 04, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham

Carroll Christian Patriots

1995-96 record: 9-13

Coach: Jessica Manahan

Top players: Cathy Saylor, 5-5, Sr., G; Jodi Beard, 5-6, Jr., F; Leigh Ann Belcher, 5-5, So., F/G; Katie Kirk, 5-1 Fr., G; Nicole Maher, 5-9, So., C.

Outlook: What's new with the Carroll Christian girls basketball team? Plenty. The Patriots have a first-year coach in Manahan, six new faces on varsity and just one senior -- Saylor. "We're very young and trying to instill the basics," Manahan said. "We're working on playing as a team and just basically working for the years to come." Manahan, who played at Carroll Christian from 1985 to 1987 and was an assistant coach in 1993, said Saylor and Beard have done a good job providing leadership as the team's co-captains. Aside from junior newcomer Kelly Dewitt, the rest of the team consists of sophomores and freshmen. Two of them, Belcher and Kirk also have varsity experience and Maher has stepped up to claim a starting spot. The plan is to have fun, learn the game and win a few. Manahan aims for a .500 season.

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1995-96 record: 14-10

Coach: Alice Smith

Top players: Nicole Keffer, 5-7, Sr., G; Stephanie Stambaugh, 6-0, Sr., C; Cindy Sheedy, 5-11, Sr., F; Jessica Matos, 5-8, Jr., G.

Outlook: With five players fresh off having just won a state volleyball championship, the Eagles would like nothing better than to ride the wave into the basketball season. Add the fact they won twice as many games last year as the year before -- jumping from seven wins to 14 -- and it's understandable why there's plenty of enthusiasm in Uniontown. "Everyone's excited. They saw they could do it" on the volleyball court, said coach Smith, "and they also want to make an impact in hoops." Three volleyball players -- guard Keffer and forwards Stambaugh and Sheedy -- will lead the Eagles on the basketball court. Keffer, a first-team All-County selection last season who averaged 12.3 points a game, is one of the county's most complete players. And with Stambaugh (7.8 points a game, 7 rebounds a game) and Sheedy (8.2 points a game, 8.7 rebounds a game) up front, opposing teams will need to make adjustments. Sophomore Sindi Stem is up from JV to play point guard, and Matos is a quick guard who saw some quality time last season.

Liberty Lions

1995-96 record: 0-21

Coach: Diane Spalt

Top players: Liz Armstrong, 5-10, Sr., F; Kelly Knutson, 5-10, Jr., F; Colleen Cox, 5-6, So., F.

Outlook: The Lions are starting fresh with their third coach in three years and have a very young nucleus. Spalt, who spent the past three seasons coaching the Lions' freshman team, is familiar with what she has to work with and sees a lot of young talent that will need time to develop. The Lions return only four players from last year's varsity, including Armstrong -- the team's only senior. "This is a building year, and we want to make it a positive year, building on each game," Spalt said. "We have seven sophomores who are very talented, and they just have to realize that." A good number of the players experienced success in other sports this fall and Spalt is hoping it can carry over to the basketball court. Cox, a starter for the state-champion Lions girls soccer team, will play the point, and Armstrong, a first-team, All-County field hockey player, is another big key. "Colleen can drive, has a good shot and a big heart. We'll use Liz at the wing position, and she can take the ball to the hoop, as well," Spalt said.

North Carroll Panthers

1995-96 record: 9-16

Coach: Greg Knill

Top players: Aubrey Wilfong, 5-4, Sr., G; Jamie Nave, 5-10, Sr., F; Katie Torsella, 5-7, Jr., F; Stephanie Rogers, 5-6, So., G; Jen Geiman, 5-6, Jr., G.; Kate Wall, 5-9, So., F.

Outlook: Knill sees a lot of possibilities on his roster, including depth with many interchangeable parts and the potential for success and fun. Last year was a lot of graduated-standout Kathleen Tunney (county-high 16.5 points a game) and a young team around her gaining experience. This year's team will be more balanced, with Knill expecting contributions from all of his 12 players, all of whom understand their respective roles. "There's no one go-to player like we had last year with Kathleen," Knill said. "There're two or three, and we'll ride whoever's hot." The Panthers will look to run more this season and defend more aggressively. Wilfong is a solid point guard who makes good decisions, and Knill hopes she looks for her own shot a little more this season. Rogers and Geiman addbackcourt quickness. Torsella is a good rebounder and should pick up some of the scoring left behind by Tunney. Most of the depth is at forward, including senior Carisa Kreichauf, a 6-1 volleyball standout playing high-school basketball for the first time.

South Carroll Cavaliers

1995-96 record: 12-11

Coach: Al Skierski

Top players: Ce Wagener, 6-1, Sr., C; Lindsey Vosloh, 5-8, Sr., G; Shannan Henley, 5-9, Sr., F; Courtney Butler, 5-10, Sr., F.

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