Filling out a tall order Girls basketball: Junior Lisa Feeheley has proven that she is more than just the top scorer for Old Mill. The 5-10 forward is also the leader of a young team that is off to a 5-4 start.

January 18, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Less than two minutes were off the clock at Meade last Tuesday when Old Mill junior forward Lisa Feeheley was sent back to the bench with two fouls.

All she could do for the rest of the quarter was watch as the taller and more experienced Mustangs, ranked eighth in the metro area, jumped out to a 10-0 lead.

The lead was up to 12 when Feeheley returned to the floor 15 seconds into the second quarter. Six minutes later, Feeheley had contributed eight points -- the last two off a smooth drive along the left baseline -- and the Patriots found themselves back even at 14.

Meade eventually would pull away in the fourth quarter, but behind the 5-foot-10 Feeheley, who finished with 16 points, the Patriots certainly showed that they are a team to watch.

"I could tell Lisa was a leader the first time I saw her step on the court three years ago," said Old Mill's first-year coach Craig White, previously an assistant to longtime coach Pat Chance. "A young team looks for leaders. There are some people who give teams a lift every time they step out there. Lisa expects to do that."

With three freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors and two seniors -- nine of them in their first varsity seasons -- the Patriots are indeed young. The youngsters have shown plenty of enthusiasm, which the Patriots have ridden to a solid 5-4 start.

Feeheley, a two-year starter who has seen her offensive numbers increase from 15 points a game last season to better than 20 this year, is thriving in her expanded role. She's also averaging more than seven rebounds a game for the Patriots.

"We're starting to put a couple of good practices together in a row, and game-to-game, we're getting better," she said. "I try to help everyone out when they need it, try to be a leader on and off the court. Everyone is starting to step up, gaining more and more confidence. We want to keep improving and stay close in the big games."

Reluctantly, Feeheley will confess that scoring always has come easily for her. She started playing basketball when she was 8 on an intramural team but was moved up to an older league after the first practice. She's spent the past five years playing Amateur Athletic Union ball.

She's added different dimensions to her offensive game through time.

"Every year, she seems to be moving back 2 feet -- deadly from 8 to 12 feet," said White.

When going to the basket, it's right or left -- something that wasn't always the case. Feeheley is naturally right-handed, but these days, when she loses a defender going left, you can't tell.

"I've been using my right hand for 16 years, and my left hand felt out of place," she said. "Three years ago, I would go to the gym every day and just work on my left hand, over and over."

Feeheley's game encompasses more than just putting the ball in the basket. White's emphasis in practice is defense, which has helped her become a more complete player. He said the time she's spent weight training the past year also has added to her game physically and mentally.

"The big thing she had to learn in order to become a good player at the next level is playing on both sides of the floor," White said. "I stress defense, and with her work ethic, she's believing in defense and becoming a better all-around player."

Ask Feeheley, a solid B student who enjoys math and science, to talk about her highlights on the basketball court and she won't tell you about a game-winning shot or a big block at the buzzer.

Instead, she expresses a more team-oriented focus.

"Just coming out with a win," she said. "I go into every game hoping to get everyone involved, and one day I'd like to see everyone on our team score."

Pub Date: 1/18/98

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