Are the Cats' collapsing? Girls basketball: After 49 straight wins against county opponents, Arundel now has back-to-back losses. Is the school's state title in jeopardy?

February 13, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Is the Arundel dynasty beginning to crack a little? Or were back-to-back losses to Annapolis and Southern-Harwood over the past five days just a temporary setback for coach Lee Rogers and the defending Class 4A state-champion Wildcats?

The answer to those questions will come over the next four weeks as the 1996-1997 season winds toward the Anne Arundel County championship game, the Class 4A East Regionals and the Class 4A state tournament.

No matter what happens, shock waves were felt in girls basketball circles in the Baltimore metro area when the mighty Wildcats were rocked, not once, but twice by the nearly unthinkable -- losses to county opponents.

After all, here was a high-school power that had won 49 consecutive games against county competition and was 66-6 overall in nearly three seasons before being dumped on by Annapolis (53-40) and Southern (56-47).

Losing to Annapolis and its two strong inside players, Jackie Edwards and Kammi Cottrell, was certainly unexpected. But county fans could comprehend that loss, even though Arundel had dominated this season's first meeting between the two teams. After all, Annapolis was the last county team to beat Arundel -- at the end of the 1993-1994 season.

But what happened Tuesday night was incomprehensible to nearly everybody. Unranked and unsung Southern was not considered to be in the same class with eighth-ranked Arundel.

Even seventh-ranked Annapolis coach Dave Griffith thought the Arundel loss to Southern must have been some kind of joke.

"It's shocking," said Griffith. "Check out that score and call me back to let me know if it's for real."

Told it was the right score, Griffith said, "What happened?"

Arundel coach Rogers said his players were still down from the Annapolis loss and still not getting production inside, other than rebounding, from sophomore center Shauntee Edmonds.

Also, he said early foul trouble haunted his team for the second straight game.

"Our kids are starting to worry too much about the officiating," said Rogers. "We have to get it out of our mind, be strong, and bounce back."

Senior starting forward Lachelle McHenry fouled out, sophomore starting forward Breanna Kitchen had four fouls, and gifted starting guards Sherice Proctor and Megan Rollins each played with three fouls.

Starting guard Sherice Proctor, the team's leading scorer with a 13.5 average, did bounce back from Friday's three-point, foul-plagued performance with 16 points Tuesday night, and her backcourt partner, Megan Rollins, had 11 points against Southern.

Rogers said Proctor played the Southern game with a sprained ring finger on her non-shooting hand that interfered with her ability to catch the ball and shoot.

"She went to a doctor," said Rogers. "He put a splint on it, but she took it off before the game."

Proctor and Rollins both insist the 14-5 Wildcats will make a run for the Class 4A state title once they get their inside game straightened out and start avoiding foul trouble.

"Everyone is playing hard," said Proctor. "And I believe we will come out a lot stronger in the final three regular-season games."

Pub Date: 2/13/97

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