1997-98 Harford County girls basketball previews

December 03, 1997|By Mark Hoeflich

Aberdeen Eagles

1996-97 record: 10-11

Coach: Sanciarhea Jones

Top players: LaShona Cooper, 5-4, Sr., G; Camae Dennis, 5-7, Jr., F; Jennel Murray, 5-5, Soph., G; Rochelle Stokes, 55-7, Soph., C; Keyonna Williams, 5-6, Fr., F.

Outlook: The developing Eagles will lean heavily on Cooper (25.5 ppg), the only experienced starter and proven scorer. First-year coach Jones hopes quickness can compensate for a lack of size.

Bel Air Bobcats

1996-97 record: 21-3

Coach: Val Cooper

Top players: Heidi Buchanan, 5-8, Sr., PG; Kellie Flynn, 6-0, Sr., C; Kathy Holmes, 5-8, Sr., F; Becca Jones, 55-10, Sr., F; Colleen Keefe, 5-10, Sr., G; Jacque LaFleur, 5-10, Soph., G-F.

Outlook: Little has changed from a Bobcats team that lost to Woodlawn in the regional semifinals a year ago. The Bobcats have tremendous balance and six of the top seven players return. Chief among the returnees is Flynn (13.0 ppg, 14.0 rpg), last season's top scorer and the Harford County league's top center. A swift backcourt is in good hands with Keefe and Buchanan and with a talented bench, Bel Air should challenge for the league title.

C. Milton Wright Mustangs

1996-97 record: 10-11

Coach: John Harvey

Top players: Carrie Caudill, 5-7, Jr., F; Jamie Gerhart, 5-5, Sr., G; Paige Heath, 5-2, Soph., G; Stacy Konrad, 5-6, Sr., F; Jen Thompson, 5-10, Sr., C.

Outlook: The Mustangs likely face a challenging season, being one of the smallest and most untested county teams. Gerhart is the only returning starter and must wait for the others to develop. Harvey's approach is one of patience and an easier schedule should help.

Edgewood Rams

1996-97 record: 7-15

Coach: Kristian Jones

Top players: LaTosha Bond, 5-4, Sr., G; Andrea Fisher, 5-5, Soph., G; Amber Mello, 5-9, Jr., F; Amber McKinnon, 5-10, Jr., F; Erica Turner, 5-7, Sr., G; Stephanie Yarborough, 6-0, Sr., C.

Outlook: Turner is a standout on a team that has more experience but must work together for at least a .500 season. The steady improvement of Yarborough in the middle will take the heavy scoring load off Turner.

Fallston Cougars

1996-97 record: 21-3

Coach: Nancy Ferguson

Top players: Lacey Anzelc, 5-9, Sr., F; Leslie Bubb, 5-9, Sr., F; Melissa Bystry, 5-9, Sr., F-C; Stephanie Manfra, 5-9, Jr., F; Paula Priest, 5-5, Jr., G.

Outlook: What the Cougars did a year ago can only be described as improbable. An unheralded team depleted by injuries somehow advanced to the state semifinals. And despite the loss of three-year starter Karen Tiedemann, Ferguson's task is somewhat easier. Bystry and Manfra, the Cougars' top two players, are rebounding nicely from injuries. While there isn't a pure shooter, the Cougars have a lot of ability and quickness at each spot. With games against Milford Mill, Hammond, John Carroll and Mercy all before the Christmas break, the Cougars might stumble early. History says they'll be a threat.

Havre de Grace Warriors

1996-97 record: 2-18

Coach: Deidre Sumpter

Top players: Kate Brochu, 5-3, Sr., G; Monique Brown, 5-5, Sr., G; Michele Demby, 5-8, Sr., F; Marsha Sawyer, 5-8, Sr., F-C.

Outlook: Sumpter, in her fourth season, hopes to build on the strong finish of a year ago, when the Warriors won their first-ever playoff game and lost only by four points to Sparrows Point in the regional quarterfinals. Several players attended camp in the off-season and a larger turnout means a deeper bench.

John Carroll Patriots

1996-97 record: 18-7

Coach: Kathleen Shannon

Top players: Jenny Biscoe, Soph., 5-1, PG; Sarah Oktavec, 5-9, Soph., F-G; Megan Sparks, 5-10, Soph., F; Jen Westervelt, 5-11, Sr., C.

Outlook: The Patriots took the Catholic League by storm last season, advancing to the tournament semifinals, and Shannon doesn't expect a letdown this season. The player most responsible for the Patriots upswing is All-Metro Westervelt, one of the league's best post players, who averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds. Oktavec and Biscoe are a year better, lead the transition game and take on an expanded role, especially on offense with the graduation of second-leading scorer Brittany Whitehurst. Sparks, who replaces Whitehurst, may make the biggest difference for the Patriots. Although a first-year starter, Sparks could take a lot of pressure of Westervelt and give John Carroll more of a physical presence inside. Shannon also will get strong contributions from her bench.

Joppatowne Mariners

1996-97 record: 8-13

Coach: Roy Washington

Top players: Nicole Barnes, 5-6, Sr., G; Contessa Smith, 5-7, Soph., F; Shiree Turner, 6-1, Soph., C; Monique Washington, 5-6, Jr., F.

Outlook: Washington (15.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg) and Turner are among eight returning players, and their combined play could lead the Mariners to their first winning season in two years.

North Harford Hawks

1996-97 record: 14-8

Coach: Lin James

Top players: Ann Anderson, 5-6, Jr., G; Jessica Colletta, 5-8, Sr., F; Alison Dorval, 5-10, Sr., F; Laura Eierman, 6-2, Sr., C; Susan Eyler, 5-3, Sr., PG.

Outlook: The Hawks have advanced to the region finals two of the past three years and appear more than ready to take the next step this season. Led by a strong senior group that has been together for three years, the Hawks have multiple scorers and work off their defense, which has Eyler averaging near five steals a game. The Hawks will get a good test early, opening the season with Towson's Generals, whom they lost to in last season's regional final, and Oakland Mills.

Pub Date: 12/03/97

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