Jackson gets Hall started on right key

Five inducted

Mt. Hebron romps over Centennial

High Schools

February 06, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

The alumnae game, the first part of last night's Hall of Fame program at Mount Hebron, was about to begin. The announcer asked that everyone stand for the national anthem.

Meanwhile, there was a mini-crisis at the scorer's table. No one knew how the national anthem would be presented.

Mona Jackson, a 1995 graduate of Howard and playing in her first alumnae game, walked past her White squad teammates and took the microphone.

"I saw no one was going to do it, so I just stepped up," Jackson said. "I love to sing."

Jackson sang a stirring national anthem, then scored a team-high 13 points to lead the White team past the Green squad, 40-35, in the most competitive game of the night.

Next came the induction ceremony honoring Toni Clarke, Liz O'Donnell Brigham, Cynthia Carson Odell, Karen Brelsford and Carol Gralia into the county's Women's Athletics Hall of Fame. This is the fourth year Patuxent Publishing has sponsored the event, and 17 women have been inducted.

Jackson was so impressive that she was asked to sing before the evening's final event -- the Centennial vs. Mount Hebron girls varsity basketball game. Again, Jackson came through.

"Give me a crowd, give me a mike and I'll do my thing," said Jackson, who sang the national anthem before playing basketball games at Howard and Norfolk State.

While Jackson gave the crowd another lift, it failed to wake up Centennial. The Eagles came out very flat and paid the price. Fifth-ranked Mount Hebron took a 14-2 first-quarter lead, increased it to 31-7 at halftime and finished with a 62-23 victory. It was the Eagles' poorest offensive showing in years.

The activities drew a packed house at Mount Hebron, and the gate receipts went to the Brian Drnec Trust Fund. Drnec is a Mount Hebron student who was paralyzed in a car accident Dec. 9 as he returned home from basketball practice.

Alumnae game

The White team, behind Jackson, Amy Mallon (Mount Hebron, 1988) and current Howard girls coach Shannon Grieve (Oakland Mills, 1990) moved out to a 27-19 lead in the third quarter. But the Green team, sparked by current Long Reach girls coach Shanya Evans and Laurie Governor Curtis (Howard, 1984) used a 14-7 run and pulled within one on Evans' basket with 3: 00 remaining.

Jackson answered with a basket for a 36-33 lead with 2: 19 left and the White team held on.

Jackson, a health and lifetime fitness teacher at Long Reach and the girls JV basketball coach at Howard, said it was the first time she's played in a game since graduating college last year.

"It was a lot of fun," said Jackson. "It was good seeing all the people, and I realized how much I miss playing the game."

Mallon, who has played professionally, dazzled the crowd with some passes and finished with 10 points. Grieve had nine. Each had one three-point basket.

Evans had one three-pointer and finished with a game-high 17 points. Curtis had 10 and Kacy Williams Valentine added six.

Hall of Fame

Brigham played field hockey at Glenelg before graduating in 1964. She returned to Glenelg as a teacher and coach, and, since 1989, has taught physical education at Dunloggin Middle School.

She came back to Glenelg four years ago as a volunteer field hockey assistant. She coached the JV filed hockey team last season, and will do so in the fall.

"It is a real honor to be included with so many tremendous people who have dedicated their lives to sports," said Brigham.

Clarke played basketball at Wilde Lake and helped the Wildecats to 46 straight county victories and three straight county titles. She played three years -- scoring 1,076 points -- before graduating a year early.

Clarke became Maryland's first black female state's attorney in 1994, and currently is a Circuit Court judge in Prince George's County.

"I'm thrilled and honored," said Clarke, a 1975 Wilde Lake graduate.

Odell coached Oakland Mills girls soccer teams to seven county titles between 1979 and 1990. She returned to coaching for two more seasons when River Hill opened in 1996, and the Hawks earned county, region and state titles her last year.

Odell, who lives in Hilton Head, S.C., did not make the ceremony.

Brelsford, the sports editor of the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times, and Gralia, a sportswriter for that paper, have organized the Hall of Fame evening for four years. They had no idea they were to be included in last night's inductions, and it caught them completely by surprise.

"Karen and I have talked many times about who should be the next inductees for the Hall of Fame. We never thought it would be us," Gralia said.

Said Brelsford: "I am very surprised, shocked and honored. All I've tried to do over the years was to give the girls their fair share of the coverage they deserved."

Vikings romp

Tiffaney Randle led 10 Mount Hebron scorers with 16 points to power the Vikings (16-1 overall, 12-1 league) over Centennial (8-8, 5-7), which scored just two first-half baskets.

"Our pressure defense really took them out of their game," said Randle.

"Awesome defense," said Mount Hebron coach Scott Robinson. "They really played great."

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