North Carroll shooting for right mix Inexperienced Panthers rely on Geiman, hustle

December 21, 1997|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

The girls basketball team at North Carroll went through a reality check last week, and considered it a learning experience.

It played three games in three days and came away with two victories, boosting its record to 4-1. The Panthers bracketed home wins over Walkersville and Hereford around a loss at Fallston.

This is a young and relatively inexperienced team, with lone senior Jen Geiman and junior Stephanie Rogers the only returning regulars. Speed and quickness will help the defense, but there is no dominant offensive threat and no one taller than 5 feet 9.

"Even though I'm the only senior, I don't feel special, because there is no pressure on any one player," Geiman said Friday prior to directing a 60-29 victory over Hereford.

"I don't feel as though I should be looked up to [simply as a senior veteran], because I'm not superior. We're all equal and in it together."

Even so, the 5-4 Geiman is the team captain and linchpin of a program based on defense. She blends well with Rogers, who plays as though her fast-forward control is stuck in the "on" position, and junior newcomer Danielle Shearer.

"Steph and I work well together because we're used to each other," Geiman, the chief ballhandler, said.

"With the others, though, I'm still kind of guessing. I've hardly played with any of them, so I'm learning how they play. The teamwork is something that will come.

"Still, there is definite team improvement already. Danielle was a dominant player for the JV last year, and we are almost identical. We like to run, we want to beat the opposing player to a spot, to get in front of people. And we push each other in practice."

Realistically, no one has had to push Geiman for years. Her parents got her interested in sports at a young age and she has done the rest.

At North Carroll, her credits include two-year starter in volleyball, basketball, and softball, and first-team All-County recognition in softball and volleyball.

Along the way, she has found time to fashion a 4.0 academic average, one she says would be lower if she were not involved in sports and forced to budget her time. She will attend Western Maryland College in the fall.

Inconsistency, usually present with a young team, was evident in last week's games.

Against a Walkersville team that used players 6-2, 6-0, and 5-10 (two), it took the Panthers three quarters to get the confidence to push the ball inside against what turned out to be a weakness of the opposition.

At Fallston, however, the team fell behind 8-0, scored only three first-quarter points, then scrambled back briefly, before falling, 56-41.

"Our lack of rebounding hurt us," Geiman offered. "I think we only had six offensive boards."

Against Hereford, there were many more, and everybody got a chance to play better, but there were still stretches where they could have slowed down and made better decisions. However, there were five who scored between nine and 11 points, and four were front-line players.

That's something that had not happened before.

"Our inside game will come," Geiman declared. "We're starting to relax and play better."

Coach Greg Knill notices the same thing about Geiman.

"She wants to be successful and, perhaps unknowingly, puts pressure on herself. When she relaxes, she plays better."

Pub Date: 12/21/97

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