Seahawk wins pay Lewnes dividend Girls basketball: South River's senior guard stayed with it through three losing seasons, and with victories coming regularly now and a realistic state-tournament objective, she's finding the game more fun.

January 29, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

With three years of hard work on South River's basketball court already invested, senior standout Adria Lewnes is finding her reward. It comes with every Seahawks win.

After a 5-16 mark last year -- the Seahawks' third straight losing season under three different coaches -- this year's version has newfound stability with second-year coach Dirk Rinehart and a 9-4 record to show for it as they chase their first winning season in 10 years.

Lewnes, a versatile 5-9 guard who averages 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, is in the middle of all the fun and enjoying every minute.

"I thought we'd be better, because we all worked so hard in the off-season. But I never imagined this," she said. "It was rough, having a different coach every year. There was always a different person with a different program to get used to.

"Mr. Rinehart is the most knowledgeable coach we've had, and he's committed to the team. Already knowing the system, we've been able to build on last year instead of starting from scratch."

Plenty of building blocks were put in place at the end of last season as the Seahawks put together a nice run in the Class 2A playoffs, reaching the region final before falling to county rival Southern-Harwood, 46-37.

They're looking forward to taking the next step this season, advancing to the state playoffs.

"Our biggest goal this season is getting to UMBC," said Lewnes. "Last year gave us a lot of experience, and we'll be less intimidated by the circumstances this time."

Lewnes has provided a lot of everything in her four years of varsity, the last two spent as team captain. In years past, she had to carry much of the scoring burden alone. But this season, with some of the younger players emerging for the Seahawks, more balance has provided more wins.

"Everything still goes through Adria," said Rinehart. "The good thing this year is [that] others are stepping up and doing things they haven't before. It's helped Adria become more of a complete player.

"We're 10-deep, and her numbers are down a little, but she's very unselfish with that and happy with everything that's happened. The kids still always look to her when we're struggling a little or in crunch time."

And more times than not, Lewnes has found a way to come through, whether it be some good defensive pressure, a strong rebound, a key assist or a big basket.

So far this season, Lewnes is connecting on 38 percent of her shots on the floor, including 43 percent from three-point range.

What impresses Rinehart most about his talented guard is her sense for the game.

"She has a great understanding of the game and explains the nuances of the game to our younger players," he said. "Last year against Parkside in regionals, they had a post player [who] kept beating us on the baseline. She came out and said we had to make adjustments to stop her. Little things like that [are] what she relates to me and others, and that helps make good things happen."

Lewnes, who carries a 3.8 grade-point average with plans of studying aerospace engineering in college, confesses the game didn't come easy to her when she first began playing when she she was 9.

"I was a little uncoordinated at first and practiced a lot," she said. "It was a good challenge. My dad has been coaching me since since I've started, and I play year-round.

"This year, it's all coming together for our team. With Coach Rinehart, the big thing is intensity. He always says, 'Intelligence on offense and intensity on defense.' He pushes us hard, and it's definitely paying off."

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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