Old shoe leads winning band Girls basketball: Longtime coach Bruce Springer's Broadneck team has trouble shooting this season, but so sound are his players' fundamentals that the victories keep coming, anyway.

February 23, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Broadneck's girls basketball players and their coach, Bruce Springer, come from different worlds.

The players are talented athletes of the 1990s who were born long after Springer caught his last pass as a wide receiver for the Maryland Terrapins in 1965.

Springer, who is 53, is not only a veteran of many Atlantic Coast Conference football battles and track and field meets. He coached men's basketball for 20 years at Anne Arundel Community College.

"I tell my players I have shoes older than they are," said Springer. "I played high school football with a leather helmet I could fold up. One player asked me the other day if I played basketball in college. I said I played football, and she just smiled."

But every time the Bruins step on the court under Springer's direction, they produce a basketball symphony that for purists is pleasure to watch.

To see 15-, 16- and 17-year-old girls going out every night and staying focused enough to run a disciplined offense is rather amazing.

Especially because most of the Broadneck players traditionally play basketball to stay in shape for lacrosse and soccer.

These youngsters constantly move without the ball, set crisp picks, block out under the boards, run backdoor plays, pass the ball swiftly around the perimeter, and almost always find the open player.

It's such a well-orchestrated clinic that Broadneck has been able to win 13 games this season despite shooting a paltry 28 percent from the field, not one player averaging more than eight points a game, and playing in the tough Anne Arundel South Division.

The Class 3A Bruins had to play an array of Class 4A schools -- defending state champion Arundel, new South Division champ Annapolis and Severna Park twice each. They also took on Class 4A Northern-Calvert once.

That kind of schedule has to make Broadneck well-prepared to make a run for the Class 3A state title if the Bruins get a decent draw in the regionals.

Intense defense is also a Springer trademark, giving Broadneck the complete package.

"We don't score a lot, but the other team doesn't score much," said Springer. "Defense is my main thing. I like man-to-man and mix it up. We work a lot on the fundamentals of the game, with our JV coach Tom Cole teaching our players things like proper footwork and boxing out. That's what the JV should be about. Then I just continue teaching the offensive skills when they reach the varsity."

Springer is one of those well-organized coaches who allows his players to have a lot of input into the disciplinary process.

This season his senior tri-captains, Amy Vandehei, Sarah Brino and Stacy Smith, have been given the responsibility of "making sure all our players are where they're supposed to be at the right time."

"These three girls set examples," said Springer. "Down through the years here, I've done it that way. We have spaghetti dinners, bowling parties and pizza parties. The fact that our players get along very well and like to hang around together helps our team chemistry."

Vandehei averages eight points and 12 rebounds, Brino is averaging eight points and 8.5 rebounds and Smith carries an eight-point average and contributes 4.5 assists and three steals a game.

Senior Susie Conrad and sophomore Lauren Peck each average six points, and senior Katie Pickett gets five points a game.

"We're team-oriented, and the girls like to play defense. We held South River to five points in three quarters and 14 for the game [35-14 victory]," said Springer.

He guided Broadneck to the Class 4A state championship in his first year as head coach in the 1989-90 season, before the school was reclassified as Class 3A for the 1994-95 season.

"You have to believe our chances are good in the 3A regionals this year as long as we stay focused on defense," said Springer.

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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