Girls Co-Player of Year
Colleen Cox, Liberty, Sr., G: A two-time All-County selection, she can appreciate more than anyone how far this program has come in her last two years after it struggled during her first two. She was the catalyst as the Lions won the county title last year and shared it with North Carroll this season. Along the way, she broke the school's career scoring record of 1,006 points and went on to set the mark at 1,119. For her final year, she averaged 13.0 points, 2.3 assists and led the county in free-throw percentage at 76. For the first time in five years, the school had a holdover coach in Dave Trumbo, and Cox said, "We were more optimistic this year. Not starting over was a new experience. We knew we'd be good, but it's a long season, and a team is bound to have dry spells." The Lions lost their first game to North Carroll, then won five in a row, beating North Carroll in overtime to share the crown. Cox had 19 points in the win. Earlier, the three-sport star who has a 3.95 grade-point average, said, "I started slowly because I wanted to have such a good senior year [that] I psyched myself out. However, I picked it up as the season went along."
Girls Co-Player of Year
Sindi Stem, Francis Scott Key, Sr., G: Another holdover from last year's first team, she was the architect of Key's run to its first Monocacy Valley Athletic League championship and an overall 17-6 record. A 5-foot-5 bundle of energy and enthusiasm, she led the county in assists (90, 4.0 per game) and steals (98, 4.3) and was second in three-pointers, making 22, nearly one-third of her attempts. "I knew we could have a good season," she said. "It was different than last year because we had more height, more experience, and we could spread the work around. I've never been a big scorer, but I take it when it's there. As long as we won, I didn't care." This was one player who did not have to score to help her team -- she contributed in many other ways and led by example. She brought heart, dedication and a never-give-up attitude. She also carries a 3.7 grade-point average.
Girls Coach of the Year
Alice Smith, Francis Scott Key: She received this honor two years ago when she guided the Eagles to a state championship with a senior-dominated squad. This time, she showed she could get a young team to play her way and produce. "I knew we had a lot of potential to begin with, and they realized their potential," she said. "We had some experience, but some of our younger players played really well." Defense was the trademark for this group, and only seven of the 22 regular-season foes could score more than 40 points. Eight teams were checked on fewer than 30 points. Smith graduated from Williamsport High School, where she played three years for her father, Glenn Smith. She went on to play basketball and volleyball at Western Maryland, and has been involved with both sports since going to Key in 1992. This was her fifth season as head basketball coach, and she has led the volleyball team the last two seasons. Of her coach, Stem said, "I appreciated what she does -- she knows the things we can and can't do. She works us, and has the ability to keep us individuals and, at the same time, together. We only had 11 [players] come out, and she cut one. Those who were there wanted to play, were dedicated and willing to work hard. She knew it and utilized it."
Michelle Allen, Liberty, Jr., G: Like Cox and Stem, this gifted three-sport athlete is repeating as an All-County selection. She averaged 8.7 points, was second in the county in assists at 3.7, tied for second in steals (72) and was third in steals average (3.3). Included in her collection of points were 18 three-pointers. Also like Cox and Stem, she brings an intensity and a mental toughness to the court.
Heather Easter, North Carroll, Jr., G: She blossomed in a starting role, averaging 9.6 points -- with highs of 24 against Urbana and 21 against Linganore -- and 7.2 rebounds. She finished among the county's best free-throw shooters, too, hitting 64 percent. The Panthers were solid early, then stumbled down the stretch, losing seven of their last 10. She scored in double figures in six of the last seven, and had one of her best nights in a loss at Linganore with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Candice Jeffery, North Carroll, Jr., F: A solid inside player, she opened the season with a 20-point, 20-rebound effort against Francis Scott Key and went on to finish second in the county in scoring (15.2) and rebounding (11.9). She scored 26 twice -- against Key and Walkersville -- and 25 against North Harford. In addition, she attempted and made the most free throws (103-for-137) and was second in free-throw percentage (75).