Parson can still rise to occasion

Basketball: Despite stiffer competition and special defenses, Pikesville's Lauri Parson is making her points: she has 59 consecutive double-digit scoring games.

High Schools

January 23, 2000|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Pikesville's Lauri Parson has learned to make the most of what she has.

The Panthers have been one of Baltimore County's weaker girls basketball teams during her career, but Parson has managed to make a name for herself. For three years, she has ranked among the metro area's leading scorers. As a senior, she leads the area with a 23.2 points per game average.

Wednesday night at Perry Hall, the 5-foot-7 guard scored 34 points, including the 1,500th of her career -- despite several defenses aimed at stopping her.

Until this season, Parson had remained a mystery to coaches of the better teams, because the Panthers had played in Baltimore County's weaker division.

Pikesville coach Kenneth Lane had to fight to get her on the coaches' All-County team as a sophomore, even though she led the county in scoring.

"A lot of coaches say she's a big fish in a small pond, but I say if you find a bigger pond, she'll still be a big fish," said Lane. "I have to really admire her for sticking it out and doing the best she can."

Now that the county's divisions have been realigned to be more equal, the two-time All-County pick faces better competition -- and her numbers haven't suffered. Her streak of double-digit games has reached 59.

Two weeks ago, Parson scored 19 against 16th-ranked Catonsville in a 93-26 Panthers loss.

"She's quick, she's got a quick release and she really sees the floor well," said Comets coach Mike Mohler. "When everybody knew she was the only one who was going to score, she continued to score. She's a very good player. She'd look good in our uniform."

Parson, who led the Panthers to the Class 1A North region final last year for the first time in school history, has smashed every school scoring record.

With 1,520 career points, she not only broke the old record -- she doubled it. Lane said the old record was around 750, which Parson topped in the first game of her junior year.

Only twice in 73 games has she failed to hit double figures. She has scored 20 or more 33 times.

Her 20.8 career average comes mostly from penetration but also on three-pointers nailed with an unconventional two-handed jump shot. Her game-high 43 points came Jan. 29, 1999 -- the same night she scored her 1,000th point.

Most athletes in Parson's position would have transferred to a more successful program.

"At first, I wanted to get out," said Parson, 17, "but I had the opportunity to be seen [by college coaches] in AAU. That's where college coaches are looking for players anyway."

Last summer, Parson switched AAU teams, moving from the Tornadoes to the stronger Hurricanes, because, she said, she wanted to win more games and be seen by more college coaches.

Coming onto a better team late, she didn't get the playing time she wanted. She also didn't draw much attention from colleges, although a few smaller Division I programs have shown interest.

That hasn't deterred Parson, who has aimed for Division I since she was a freshman. She has made the most of her time at Pikesville, so she plans to make the most of any Division I opportunity.

"It's going to be worth something in the end," said Parson, whose ultimate goal is to play in the WNBA after a stint of pro ball in Europe. "I think after going through all of this, something good has to come out of it."

Lane and Linda Caccavalla, Perry Hall coach and Parson's former AAU coach, tried to steer Parson toward Division III, because her defense isn't quite up to the level of her offensive. Still, both coaches believe she can succeed in Division I.

"She has the work ethic," said Caccavalla. "She never quits. Nowadays, most players blame other people if they don't look good. Lauri doesn't do that anymore."

As a freshman, Parson did blame her less-experienced teammates, but that has changed.

"Lauri still gets frustrated," said Lane, "but she realizes that it takes more than one person. She's handling it much better."

Panthers senior Jenny Rotner said Parson always tries to be encouraging and wants to help her teammates improve.

"If we don't play to her level, she doesn't take it out on us," said Rotner. "It must be a struggle for her, but we all try to be as supportive as we can. She's probably one of the only people coming out of Pikesville who has the talent to play in college and that's something we like to show off."

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