G. Lake girls program disbanded Basketball team ends play in second season

January 16, 1998|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Gwynn Lake girls basketball team has disbanded, resulting in a premature ending of its second season and leaving the future of the program in doubt.

Growing disenchantment with the Woodlawn Christian school and a series of controversies involving the girls program led to the players' decision to quit the team and seek transfers to other schools, said former Gwynn Lake player Latonya Blue.

Gwynn Lake athletic director Donchez Graham confirmed that the team was dissolved after a meeting with the players last Friday.

"I'm sad to see it end," said Graham, who coaches the boys team at Gwynn Lake, which will continue to play. "I will try to have another girls program next year."

Gwynn Lake, which went 27-4 and was ranked fifth in The Sun's final poll in its inaugural season last year, played its last game on Dec. 30 at the Annapolis Capital City Classic, finishing at 4-7 against a demanding schedule made up entirely of teams from outside the metro area.

"We weren't playing to our full potential and [Graham] asked if we still want to be here. We said, 'No. It's time to go,' " Blue said. "Last year, everything was real nice, but this year, things changed.

"They changed a lot of rules this year. The school was more strict. If you did little things wrong, you got sent home."

Blue said the players and parents also grew tired of repeated problems with transportation to games, resulting in the team regularly arriving late. Graham said the school could not afford to pay for bus transportation to all of the games, so they sometimes had to car pool.

Moreover, Blue said she wasn't satisfied with the school's curriculum. Gwynn Lake, which was not accredited, subscribed to a program that allows students to work at their own pace out of workbooks administered by a supervisor, rather than having a teacher in the classroom.

"I would be happier with a more traditional classroom," said Blue, who plans to enroll at Edmondson. "That was the feeling of most of our team."

Gwynn Lake principal Marion Spann did not return phone calls.

Problems with the girls program were present almost from its inception.

The most recent incident occurred last month when coach Roland Hall resigned after school officials suspended him pending an investigation of alleged sexual misconduct by Hall toward one of his players. Hall was replaced by Nanchez Graham, brother of Donchez Graham. The matter is under investigation by Baltimore City's Child Protective Services.

As a member of the Christian Schools Athletic Association last season, the Lakers apparently violated league rules against recruiting by offering scholarships to girls basketball players.

Four athletes and their families told The Sun last March that they were approached by either Hall or Donchez Graham and offered scholarships to play basketball at the school.

No action was taken by the league, which was dissolved after last season.

Blue was one of three players involved in another controversy last season involving Gwynn Lake's use of underage players. Although she was chronologically an eighth-grader last year, Blue was classified as a freshman because the curriculum allows students to accelerate to classes above their chronological age. Some of Gwynn Lake's opponents complained about that practice and refused to schedule it this season.

Pub Date: 1/16/98

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