Magical moment, a new star Girls basketball: Sophomore ** Megan Rollins' value to Arundel surfaced early. Put simply, with her playing, the Wildcats are 37-2 and riding an 11-game win streak.

February 06, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

The moment was one of those special ones in basketball.

It was in December 1995, and in retrospect, a high school star -- tiny freshman point guard Megan Rollins, for Arundel -- was born before a packed house in Prince George's Community College's gym that included several college recruiters.

If you have any doubts, just look at the record of Arundel and Rollins this season. But more on that later.

Arundel was trailing powerful Elizabeth Seton by two points with 15 seconds left in that game a year ago. Rollins, Arundel's first substitute guard during what would become an outstanding season, was open for a three-point shot that could put her team ahead in the championship game of the 1995 International Association of Approved Basketball Officials Christmas tournament.

Rollins already had sunk two important three-pointers in the second half against the renowned Bladensburg girls team, but this time, the game was on the line. She had the option of going inside to Vanderbilt-bound center Chavonne Hammond, or to College of Notre Dame-bound forward Jen Mottar, or shooting again.

It was more than enough pressure for a freshman. But Rollins never hesitated. She went up for a three-point jumper with that fluid shooting motion, the ball went right in the cylinder -- and spun out. The Wildcats lost by three.

"It was the right shot," Arundel coach Lee Rogers recalled. "Megan was open, and the ball should have gone in. She played a super game that night, coming off the bench and getting 10 points."

Rollins recalled that "it was just natural for me to take that three-pointer. I didn't think about it. I've been playing [Amateur Athletic Union] ball for the past several years, and before that, when I was 6 years old, I was the only girl playing against guys. You learn a lot in that kind of competition."

That tough setback to Elizabeth Seton would be one of only two losses all last season for the 27-2, Class 4A Wildcats, who would win the school's first state girls basketball championship.

Now, more than a year later, the Elizabeth Seton loss is still one of only two Arundel defeats in two seasons with Rollins healthy.

All three Wildcat losses in this 14-3 season occurred when Rollins was out with a fractured right hip. The first was in the season's second game against top-ranked Seton Keough after Rollins went out early with the hip injury. She would miss the next six games, and the Wildcats also would lose to Woodlawn and Friendly.

They were struggling with a 5-3 record when the smooth, 5-foot-4 sophomore returned. Even though Rollins was restricted to part-time duty for three games before starting at point guard, Arundel immediately looked more like its title-winning predecessor.

Now, entering tomorrow's key South Division clash at Annapolis at 5: 30 p.m., the Wildcats are riding an 11-game winning streak.

"I'd say Megan is still a little out of sync," said Rogers. "But she's close to being 100 percent. We're going full-speed ahead, because it's close to playoff time, and any experimenting is over. definitely an up-tempo team with Megan in there."

Rollins is averaging 10 points, 2.4 assists and 2.4 steals and is receiving letters from colleges such as Georgetown, Virginia and Villanova. Those schools -- and others -- like the idea that Arundel is 37-2 in two seasons with Rollins on the court.

It was a quick journey to a state championship for Rollins, and she is beginning to appreciate last year's win more every day.

Making that title more special is the fact that Megan and her uncle, Warren Rollins, are both members of Arundel's only two state basketball championship teams. He played on the Arundel boys' 1965 Class A state title team.

Pub Date: 2/06/97

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