St. Frances welcomes showdown

No. 5 Panthers meet No. 6 Randallstown today

Girls Mayor's Basketball Academy

January 18, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

St. Frances girls basketball coach Jerome Shelton had many reasons for wanting his Panthers back in the Mayor's Basketball Academy after a three-year absence. One of the most important was the chance to play top competition in a large arena close to home, the Coppin Center at Coppin State College.

"It gives us a chance to play in a venue where a lot of people can see us play," said Shelton. "We get a chance to play in front of family, friends and supporters and we get a couple good games out of it."

The No. 5 Panthers (12-3) are featured in perhaps the marquee game of the girls bracket - a showdown with No. 6 Randallstown today at 4.

The two teams have never met and Shelton is a proponent of any matchup between top-level teams.

"I'd like to see more ranked teams playing each other. It's good for the interest of girls basketball," said Shelton. "If you go to other areas, you see a lot of schools playing each other. All that does is breed more competitive spirit into the girls game. If we look for those challenges and don't seek the road of least resistance, it challenges us. We're looking forward to it."

The two teams should match up well, especially in the paint where St. Frances' 6-foot Brooke Campbell and 6-2 Keila Evans square off against the Rams' duo of 6-1 Ravin Chase and 6-3 Teresa Fallin. The Panthers have the edge in the backcourt behind 5-9 All-Metro guard LaTonya Blue, but the Rams' 5-5 Shanel Knox and 5-8 Crystal Gibson are capable of big numbers.

The Panthers and the Rams will join No. 7 Dunbar, No. 11 Western and Western Tech in the girls competition at the 5th annual Mayor's Academy, which features girls and boys action beginning this afternoon and running through Saturday night.

While the Panthers vs. the Rams might be the big showdown, Randallstown gets another tough local contest against defending Baltimore City and state Class 2A champ Dunbar at 3 p.m. Saturday.

"It'll be an interesting game," said Dunbar coach Wardell Selby, whose team is making its third appearance at the Mayor's Academy. "They're one of the up-and-coming teams in the county and we feel we're still top in the city. They wanted to play us last year, but we had a scheduling conflict."

The Poets (9-3) might have a little trouble matching up against the Rams' post game, but they have the edge on the perimeter in hot-shooting junior guards Tiffany Jones and Toni Kennedy.

Mayor's Basketball Academy (at Coppin State)

Girls schedule

Today St. Frances vs. Randallstown, 4 p.m.

Dunbar vs. Newport Prep, 8:30 p.m.

Tomorrow

Western vs. Western Tech, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday

Western Tech vs. St. Frances, 10:30 a.m.

Newport Prep vs. Western, 1:30 p.m.

Randallstown vs. Dunbar, 3 p.m.

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