1997-98 Carroll County girls basketball previews

December 04, 1997|By John W. Stewart

Carroll Christian Patriots

1996-97 record: 11-10

Coach: Jessica Managhan

Top players: Jodi Beard, Sr., 5-6, F; Leighann Belcher, Jr., 5-5, G; Renee Coglianese, Soph., 5-8, F; Katie Kirk, Soph., 5-3, G.

Outlook: This is Managhan's third year, her second as head coach, and Beard and Belcher are in their third varsity years. These two, plus Coglianese and Kirk, are returning starters. Another holdover, 5-foot-9 Nicole Maher, provides height. Experience, though, has Managhan enthusiastic. The Patriots already have played four games (1-3), including three in the Arlington Baptist tournament in Glen Burnie, where they placed seventh, beating the host school the last day. "We had had just one practice before that, so it took us awhile to get together," Managhan said of the start. "I was pleased with the way things came together." Last week's loss to Montrose was against a perennially stronger team, but the coach was excited by an improved defensive effort in the second half, and she believes this improvement will continue. "I see us being able to do well in our post-season tournaments," said Managhan, who played for the Pats in 1985-87. "We've never really been strong in girls basketball, and the sport is the only one without a championship banner in our gym. Our goal is to get one this year.

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1996-97 record: 25-3

Coach: Alice Smith

Top players: Jessica Matos, Sr., 5-9, F; Melissa Merson, Jr., 5-9, C; Kristin Myers, Sr., 5-8, F; Sindi Stem, Jr., 5-5, G; Jessie Suter, Jr., 5-7, G.

Outlook: Three returnees from the top six last season, when the Eagles won the state Class 1A championship, will provide experience and leadership for what is basically a young team. Seniors Matos and Myers are joined by five juniors and three sophomores. Matos, a second-team All-County choice last season, and Merson are the tallest players, but Smith hopes speed will help balance that situation. Matos and Stem, also second team All-County, were among the team's best shooters; the versatile Matos was second in rebounding, 6.6, and Stem, whose emergence as a point guard contributed to the title run, led in assists and steals with respective averages of four and five. Eight December games, including four in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League, should provide a firm foundation.

Liberty Lions

1996-97 record: 3-15

Coach: David Trumbo

Top players: Michelle Allen, Soph., 5-5, G; Colleen Cox, Jr., 5-6; Kelly Knutson, Sr., 5-10, F; Jessica Morgan, Jr., 5-7, F; Meredith Priddy, Jr., 5-9, F.

Outlook: A new coach with a new system and some athletic players seeks to improve on last year's record. Trumbo, fresh from a successful season as coach of the Lions' volleyball team, calls this a "stabilizing" year for a program that won three games the past three years -- all last season. "There are some really

good athletes working hard and having fun," he says, "but the basic problem is the mentality about winning. Even though most of the players have been winners in other sports, basketball has been losing for so long, they need to develop a team confidence." Trumbo will be able to offer different lineups, too, as five of the players are 5-9 or 5-10, including junior co-captain Meredith Priddy; Cox, a co-captain, and Morgan are in their third varsity seasons; and Cox and Allen, brought up as a point guard halfway through last season, are backed by Dana Parisi, a 5-4 junior guard expected to provide a spark off the bench. Seven of the 11 players were on the varsity last year, but only two seniors are on the roster.

North Carroll Panthers

1996-97 record: 6-15

Coach: Greg Knill

Top players: Jen Geiman, Sr., 5-6, G; Stephanie Rogers, Jr., 5-6,G.

Outlook: Knill likes two basic things about this team: its dynamics and depth. The blend of 10 players is the best in several years, and most of the crowd coming from a successful JV have better overall skills. "It has gone from being a struggle to a good situation," says Knill. Geiman is the lone senior, and she and Rogers, one of five juniors, have been together for three years. The other players are three sophomores and a freshman. "We lost some height from veterans who chose not to come out, but we will be all right," adds Knill. "We will probably use all 10, so we will need some patience until everybody gets settled. Starters likely won't be determined until close to the opener, although I'm not as concerned with who starts as who finishes. I've been on top, in the middle, and at the bottom, and this will be the most interesting of any of my eight years."

South Carroll Cavaliers

1996-97 record: 19-6

Coach: Al Skierski

Top players: Misty Davis, Sr., 5-6, F; Michelle Eckes, Sr., 5-4, G; Heather Stoetzer, Sr., 5-6, G; Mandy South, Sr., 5-9, F; Amy Wilson, Sr., 5-7, G/F.

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