Hammond basketball star returning to coach

Howard notebook

November 05, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Kacy Williams -- make that Valentine -- is coming home.

One of the top athletes to play in Howard County, the 1994 Hammond graduate signed yesterday to become her alma mater's girls JV basketball coach and assistant varsity coach.

Valentine, who had the talent to play Division I soccer, was a standout basketball guard for the Golden Bears. In her senior year, she averaged 11 points and nearly eight assists a game in directing Hammond to a 24-1 record, a state title, and No. 23 national ranking USA Today.

Valentine, a 4.0 student at Hammond, is the school's all-time assist leader (352) and fourth all-time scorer (1,193). A four-year starter, she never missed a game. She was The Sun's 1994 Girl Athlete of the Year and then starred at Georgetown, where she became the all-time assist leader (436) and sixth all-time in steals (209). At 5-foot-6, she also is the Hoyas' 15th all-time rebounder (501).

"I'm thrilled to have her. We work well together," said Hammond varsity coach Joe Russo, her coach at Hammond. "She brings a wealth of knowledge and can demonstrate skills very well."

Valentine, who married former Wilde Lake basketball star Craig Valentine on Aug. 30, is excited to go back to her old school and work with her former coach.

"I'm looking forward to it," Valentine said yesterday. "I wouldn't work elsewhere."

Valentine will start a new job next week as an instruction assistant at a Baltimore elementary school through the Baltimore Curriculum Project. She expects to make most JV games on time, and Hammond has moved back its practices to 6 p.m. so she can be there.

Valentine said she looks forward to bringing "a high-level of work ethic" to Hammond's varsity and JV teams, which practice together.

"I want them to take their time on the court seriously but at the same time have fun," she said. "That's the way it should be, and I know it can be done."

New fields

Three more schools -- Wilde Lake, Long Reach and River Hill -- will get Bermuda-grass fields for their field hockey teams next fall.

Hammond had the first such field this fall, and it got rave reviews.

Earlier this season, Wilde Lake was the only school mentioned to receive a new field for the 1999 fall season. But Paul O'Meara, the school system's assistant grounds manager, said that with Long Reach and River Hill being relatively new schools, the opportunity was there to "catch those fields before they have had a chance to deteriorate much more."

O'Meara said the River Hill field would be easy to change.

"We figured if we were going to do three in one year, we wanted to pick one that would be easy logistically for us," said O'Meara.

River Hill's field is farther from the main building than fields at other county schools. But an athletic storage facility with water and electricity is nearby, and the county will just tap into the water line and continue it roughly 460 feet to the field hockey field.

At Long Reach, the girls will switch fields with the football team. The current field hockey field, next to the parking lot, will be used as a practice field by the football team. The field hockey team will move to a more secluded location between the school and the home team's stadium bleachers.

Long Reach athletic director Chuck Struhar hopes to create a stadium atmosphere for the girls. Bleachers, possibly permanent, will be installed, and a scoreboard will be put on the back side of the stadium bleachers. Struhar also has plans for a public-address system.

Purcell goes for 200th

Centennial field-hockey coach Gail Purcell goes for her 200th career win today when the seventh-ranked Eagles (14-2) travel to meet Bethesda-Chevy Chase in a Class 2A West region final. Game time is 3: 30 p.m.

B-CC (13-1) has won or shared five state titles in the last six years. The Barons won last year's Class 2A state title, 3-1, over Mount Hebron. B-CC defeated River Hill, 2-0, Tuesday in a semifinal game.

Centennial, which defeated Einstein, 2-1, on Tuesday, won the Howard County championship this season with a 9-0 record. Purcell is 199-67-18 over 22 seasons.

No. 15 Hammond (10-2-1) plays at 3 p.m. today at Poolesville in the Class 1A West region final.

No. 10 Mount Hebron (11-5), which beat Charles County's McDonough, 2-0, yesterday, will play host to Long Reach (9-7) at 3 p.m. tomorrow in the Class 2A South region championship.

Coaching openings

Howard High is looking for coaches for its JV girls and boys basketball teams and JV wrestling team. Contact athletic director Vince Parnell at 410-313-2874 for information.

Pub Date: 11/05/98

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