The Cougars' strength Basketball: Chesapeake's Gail Siemer is one of the county's best centers. The 6-foot senior begins her final season having already led the team in scoring and rebounding for two years, and with her college plans in place. @

December 14, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

When Jerry McBee took over the girls basketball program at Chesapeake High three seasons ago, there wasn't a long list of )) returning varsity players to look at. There wasn't even a short one.

But there was a 6-foot sophomore center -- Gail Siemer -- to provide McBee with a foundation.

"When she was a freshman, she played on an all-senior team. When I got there, she was the only experienced varsity player we had," he said. "We didn't have much team speed that year, so she was pretty much it."

A senior now, with some good talent around her and McBee's system firmly in place, Siemer, who averaged 13.8 points and 13 rebounds a game as a junior, is looking to make the most of her final high school season.

The Cougars' leading scorer and rebounder the past two seasons, Siemer, a relentless worker on the boards with a soft touch around the basket, has grown accustomed to plenty of double-teams. She doesn't mind all the attention.

"I just have to keep moving around and work that much harder posting up. We set a lot of picks, and the team is helpful," she said. "We have a great team with great guard-shooting and other good forwards posting up. With so many people on me, I'm dishing off more. I don't mind that, as long as I contribute."

Siemer's a three-sport standout coming off a stellar volleyball season in which the Cougars improved from 8-7 in 1996 to 13-4 this fall. She earned first-team All-County honors and was a second-team All-Metro selection as a hitter.

"We worked hard, came together and bonded as a team," she said. "It was an honor for us to play in the county championship. The whole school was behind us, and that psyches you up."

She's hoping to continue the trend on the basketball court, with the Cougars (2-1) coming off a 9-14 season a year ago.

"We're hoping for a winning season, and I think we can accomplish that," said Siemer, who will play basketball at Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W. Va., next fall. "There are a lot of tough teams -- Annapolis, Arundel, Meade and Severna Park. But that can only help me out in the long run -- prepare me for college and life."

County teams have plenty of talent at center this season, with Annapolis senior Jackie Edwards, a pre-season All-American pick, setting the standard. Siemer is not far behind.

"Gail has long arms and does an excellent job of going over people without making contact," McBee said. "And then she gets rid of it quick. She scores a lot of her points on put-backs. She also has a good soft shot. She can hit consistently from 15 to 17 feet, and every now and again, she'll jump out and hit the three."

Siemer, who also plays lacrosse in the spring, has been around sports all her life.

"I could never sit still," she said. "I had a lot of neighbors my age when I was younger, and it didn't matter what we were playing. I can remember playing kickball until 10 o'clock at night.

"My older brother, Matt, and his friends would always be playing pick-up [basketball] games, and they'd always let me play. I was the only girl in the game. That really helped me out in the physical part of the game."

As far as always being the tallest girl around, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

"As far as the advantages, it's certainly helped my game," Siemer said. "Disadvantages? It's tough buying clothes sometimes."

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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