Roland Park CS downs Bel Air by 24 points Reds show they're serious by belting No. 17 Bobcats

Girls basketball

December 14, 1997|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Not too long ago at Roland Park Country School, basketball was viewed as a way to occupy time between field hockey and lacrosse seasons.

My, how times have changed.

These days, the eighth-ranked Reds have transformed themselves into one of the hottest teams in the metro area, as 17th-ranked Bel Air found out yesterday. Roland Park jumped out to a 15-2 lead and never looked back, forcing 32 turnovers in a 60-36 win in the ninth annual Greater Baltimore Women's Basketball Invitational Mixer at the College of Notre Dame.

After posting a slightly better than .500 record two years ago against mediocre competition, the Reds (4-1) now have won 25 of their past 29 games, including last week's six-point victory over Elizabeth Seton, then the top-ranked team in the state.

"We've gotten a lot of support from the administration, and the parents had some input because they saw how well field hockey and lacrosse players were treated," said second-year coach Scott Buckley. "It's the same kids really, but we're just playing a better schedule. We're trying to prove we can play with the area's best teams."

With a schedule full of area- and nationally-ranked teams, the Reds will get their chance. Yesterday, they passed their latest test with flying colors.

Guard Betsy Gaines scored a game-high 23 points, including 14 in the first quarter, as the Reds blew past the Bobcats from the starting gate. Gaines' consecutive three-pointers gave the Reds 15-2 lead 3: 43 into the game as constant full-court pressure quickly took its toll.

"Turnovers killed us," said Bel Air coach Val Cooper. "I kept telling my team I was waiting for them to show up. They never did. We came out here expecting a tough game, and we were prepared for it. We just didn't play up to our potential."

Said Gaines: "Our game is defense. We play such hard defense that we take other teams out of their game."

Freshman Kelsey Twist added nine points, Lauren Miller eight and Calin McHenry seven as the Reds extended their lead to 23 following a 13-0 third-quarter run.

Led by Jacque LaFleur (16 points) and Becca Jones (13), Bel Air played better down the stretch, but by then the game was long out of reach.

For Roland Park, it was a good chance to show off the newest of the school's powerhouse programs.

"A lot of people might not have heard of us, but the basketball people know who we are," said Buckley. "I thought coming into this season we could end up with seven or eight losses. It turns out we're playing much better than that."

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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