1997 All-Metro girls basketball team

March 22, 1997|By Kevin Eck

Player of the Year

Emily Lipton, St. Mary's, guard: Although she's only a sophomore, Lipton displayed maturity beyond her years in leading the Saints to their first No. 1 ranking and the Catholic League tournament championship. Few players were as intense and determined as Lipton, and even fewer could match her skills. The 5-foot-7 point guard led St. Mary's in scoring (15.5), assists (5.5) and steals (4.2) and also grabbed 4.3 rebounds a game. The Catholic League Player of the Year, Lipton finished the season especially strong, scoring 77 points with 23 assists, 20 rebounds and 20 steals in the Saints' last four games. Lipton was a second-team All-Metro selection as a freshman, but her primary job then was to get the ball to senior scoring leader Tara Foran. She knew her role would grow this season, and she thrived on it. The bigger the game, the more crucial the situation, the better Lipton seemed to play. She saved one of her best performances for last, tallying 26 points, six steals, five rebounds and three assists in a 58-48 victory over then-No. 1 Mercy in the Catholic League tournament championship game. Lipton showed her ability to single-handedly take over a game in St. Mary's 76-73 win over John Carroll last month. With her team trailing by one with less than a minute remaining, she forced a turnover as John Carroll tried to inbound the ball and then drove the lane past three players to put the Saints ahead. Lipton sealed the victory by converting both ends of a one-and-one with 27 seconds left. "I like to be the person to take charge when we need someone to step up. Someone has to do it," she said. Lipton entered high school with four years of Amateur Athletic Union experience with the nationally-prominent Hurricanes and has been invited to the Blue Star Elite 50 Camp (the nation's top 50 sophomores and juniors) in Terre Haute, Ind., in June. Lipton has dedicated herself to playing college basketball at the highest Division I level, rushing off to the gym every free moment to play against the best competition she can find, boys or girls. "Emily is going to make herself as good as she can be," St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson said. "When we're doing exercise warm-ups in the gym, Emily even has a basketball in her hands, working on her skills."

The first team

Jimea Barner, Gwynn Lake, guard: The fifth-ranked Lakers made more of an impact in their first season than expected, and Barner was a big part of their success. The 5-6 sophomore point guard led the team in scoring (21.3) and assists (11.3) and also averaged 5.6 rebounds. Barner, one of the area's top one-on-one players, was able to blow by defenders and penetrate, but she also was a constant threat to hit the three-pointer. She was a defensive standout as well, recording 21 steals in a game against Mount Carmel. On a team devoid of juniors and seniors, Barner was clearly the leader. She made sure everyone was in position, and she always wanted the ball in clutch situations. "She was my senior," Gwynn Lake coach Roland Hall said. "She was a coach on the floor."

Vicki Brick, McDonogh, guard: After making the All-Metro team as a freshman, the 5-6 sophomore point guard capped an abbreviated high school career with another outstanding season. potential four-time All-Metro selection, Brick announced plans to devote herself full time to tennis in the hope of eventually competing on the professional tour. She led the her team in scoring (19.7), assists (5.5), steals (5.8) and field-goal percentage (58 percent), as the fourth-ranked Eagles won their second consecutive Association of Independent Schools A Division championship. Brick scored most of her points off steals, but she also could score from outside. Her assists-to-turnover ratio was better than 2-to-1 (127-56), and she also averaged 4.7 rebounds and had 16 blocks. "[Her] intensity, you can't teach," said McDonogh coach Seth Kushkin. "She has that drive to always win, to never settle for being second best."

Terri Daniels, St. Mary's, forward: One of the area's more complete players, the 5-11 sophomore was nearly unstoppable at times this season. Daniels had four triple doubles, as well as a memorable performance in which she erupted for 29 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in a 69-45 victory over No. 2 Mercy. Daniels also had a school record 12 assists to go with 15 points and 11 rebounds in a 76-73 win over then-No. 5 John Carroll. She averaged 11.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 4.1 steals, 2.0 blocks and shot 80 percent from the free-throw line this season. The only weakness in Daniels' game was aggressiveness that at times led to turnovers and foul trouble. "Terri has as much talent as anyone who has ever played at St. Mary's," said Dobson. "She just has to put it all together. She's still young."

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