1998-99 Anne Arundel County girls basketball previews

December 03, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham

Annapolis Area Christian Eagles

1997-98 record: 15-8

Coach: Bob Topp

Top players: Stephanie Cole, 5-5, Sr., G; Jessi Seep, 5-5, Sr., G; Lizi Singleton, 5-6, Sr., F; Hillary Bartlett, 5-6, Sr., F; Kelly Ferguson, 5-10, Sr., C.

Outlook: Returning are five seniors who started at one point last season. Topp doesn't see any one player picking up the 18 points a game graduated-center Gina Brown averaged last season but is confident his group can make up the difference. Point-guard Cole, the captain, must shoot more, and Ferguson, who averaged 8 points and 9 rebounds last season, has added a medium-range jumper to her game. With improved speed, the Eagles will play a lot of man defense and run when possible. Depth comes in a strong sophomore class that features Emiley Boone, Heather Thompson and Chelsea Thomas. Previously independent, the Eagles will play in the new, five-team Chesapeake Women's Athletic Conference.

Annapolis Panthers

1997-98 record: 19-6

Coach: Dave Griffith

Top players: Jessica White, 5-10, Sr., F; Tanisha Calhoun, 6-0, Jr., F; Caitlin Stone, 5-8, Sr., F; Acacia Walker, 5-6, So., G; Sherika Adams, 5-7, So., G; Maurica Simms, 5-6, So., G.

Outlook: No county team was hit harder by graduation than the Panthers, who lost all five starters. Griffith has hisyoungest team in eight seasons, the last six as head coach. "We'll go back to fundamentals starting over and teaching. It's just a matter of working with them. We'll take our lumps early and, hopefully, over the course of the season get better," he said. The Eagles are more of a guard-oriented team with Walker, Adams and Simms providing quickness. "We'll rely more on a transition game and try to force the other team into making mistakes," said Griffith. White and Calhoun will be counted on to take care of the work inside with Stone adding athleticism at forward.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1997-98 record: 17-14

Coach: Deb Taylor

Top players: Amy Campion, 6-0, Sr., G; Lauren Schaech, 5-8, Jr., G; Leslie Juengst, 5-8, Jr., G/F; Carlisa Howard, 5-6, Jr., G; Amy Altig, 5-8, So., F.

Outlook: The Cavaliers won 11 more games last winter than during the previous season. Taylor has a deep and talented, guard-heavy team to build on that success this season. It starts with floor-leader Campion, who averaged seven points, five assists and six rebounds last season. "Amy's playing great. She's seeing the floor well and getting her teammates involved. You can tell she's a senior," said Taylor, who unlike last season has no go-to player. "We don't have a lot of size, so we'll look to run and press, getting some easy shots in transition. We have 13 girls who can play, a ton of guards, and every kid brings something different to the table," said Taylor, who expects Schaech to provide a fine all-around game. Four freshmen made varsity, and two -- 5-11 center Kylie Bestul and 5-8 guard LaToya Strong -- are expected to start.

Arundel Wildcats

1997-98 record: 24-4

Coach: Lee Rogers

Top players: Meagan Rollins, 5-8, Sr., G; Shaunte Edmonds, 6-3, Sr., C; Jill Marano, 5-8, So., G; Lindsey Schiesz, 5-11, Sr., F; Najimah Fauntleroy, 6-0, So., F; Breanna Kitchen, 5-11, Sr., F.

Outlook: The Wildcats reached the Class 4A state final game for the third time in four years last season, falling to Prince George's County's Suitland, 66-61. With a nucleus from that team returning, Rogers hopes for another trip in March. "We still have a lot of work to do, but we'll shape up," he said. Rollins, who earned first-team All-County honors after averaging 16 a game, will assume some of graduated Player of the Year Sherice Proctor's duties. The emergence of Marano also will help. Edmonds, who became a force last season, is "well ahead of last year's pace," said Rogers. Kitchen and Schiesz provide the Wildcats with leadership, solid defense and rebounding. Fauntleroy becomes a starter.

Broadneck Bruins

1997-98 record: 6-18

Coach: Bruce Springer

Top players: Jill Toomey, 5-10, Sr., C; Lauren Peck, 5-10, Sr., G; M.J. Pruner, 5-6, Sr., G; Rachel Shuck, 5-5, Jr., G; Laura Brino, 5-11, So., C; Diana Davidson, 5-6, So., G.

Outlook: The Bruins return six with their three seniors -- Toomey, Peck and Pruner -- a good starting point to get things turned around. Springer hopes defensive intensity can translate into easy baskets. Toomey, who averaged eight points and 10 rebounds as a junior, will be relied on heavily underneath. Peck, in her fourth varsity season, will key the Bruins' perimeter game after averaging eight points a game last year. Pruner adds athleticism. Shuck will handle the point. "We have to attack the basket with our quicknesss, because we don't have a lot of size. It'll also be important to get on a roll early," said Springer. Brino and Davidson also saw varsity time last season and Springer plans to go deep into his bench with junior guard Michelle Lare and sophomore forwards Nicole Barr and Rachael Hack expected to contribute.

Chesapeake Cougars

1997-98 record: 9-14

Coach: Jerry McBee

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