2001 All-Baltimore City/County basketball

March 15, 2001

Player of the Year

LaTonya Blue, St. Frances: A smooth 5-10 guard, Blue led the Panthers (25-3) to their first tournament championship in six years and The Sun's final No. 1 ranking. Blue simply contributed whatever her team needed to win. She could score big, play great defense or find her teammates with perfect passes. Blue's leadership, her composure and her determination to win the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference Tournament title before she moved on to the University of Virginia were just as important to the Panthers' title run as her exceptional skills. A first-team All-Metro selection last year, Blue averaged 12.3 points, 6.2 assists and 6.5 rebounds. Panthers coach Jerome Shelton appreciates what Blue brings to the court. "As a coach, she's made my job easier," he said. "She has learned to kind of think the game for me out on the floor and make decisions. She brings a lot of mental toughness, physical ability, and she's a smart player."

Coach of the Year

Dana Johnson, Western: In her first season coaching her alma mater, the former high-school All-American worked a little magic with the young Doves. After starting the season 1-2 with lopsided losses to Randallstown and Dunbar, the Doves won 17 of their next 18 games to reach the state semifinals for a fifth straight time. They avenged their 27-point loss to Dunbar with a 53-51 victory in the city title game and finished the season 18-4 with the No. 8 ranking. With just two experienced players, Johnson had to keep many girls she said should have been on the junior varsity, so she started with fundamentals. "The biggest things were confidence," said Johnson, "and the willingness to want to learn. I knew from the practices we had early on that we had the athletic ability, but we had to learn the game and not just play the game."

The first team

B.J. Banjo, Mercy: A 5-7 junior guard, Banjo was a scoring machine for the No. 12 Magic (16-11). She averaged 18.2 points as well as 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.7 steals. An accurate outside shooter, Banjo also proved strong off the dribble. In perhaps her most memorable outing, she scored 32 points in the Magic's IAAM A Conference quarterfinal loss to Seton Keough.

Keisha Blackwell, Seton Keough: A first-team All-Metro player last year, the 5-5 senior guard shot 50 percent from the field in averaging 10.5 points for the No. 4 Gators (26-6). Her ability to run the point, run the floor and play great defense enabled a young Gators team to go unbeaten through the IAAM A Conference regular season. Blackwell, who also averaged four assists and three steals, signed early with Providence.

Brooke Campbell, St. Frances: An exceptionally athletic two-way threat, the 6-foot senior forward averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds and played a key role in the Panthers' drive to the IAAM A Conference championship. Her defensive ability, especially to alter opponents' shots, gave the Panthers a lot of second and third opportunities, many of which she capitalized on. A second-team pick last year, Campbell also averaged two assists.

Lillian Drumgold, Western: A second-team All-Metro selection last season, Drumgold led the Doves to the Baltimore City championship, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to spark a 53-51 title-game victory over Dunbar. In her four years at Western, the Doves have won three city titles and reached the state semifinals four times. The 5-10 forward, who is still being recruited, averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Tiffany Jones, Dunbar: A multi-talented 5-6 junior point guard, Jones provided a little bit of everything statistically for the Poets, but her greatest asset was her leadership. She led the No. 5 Poets (23-4) to the Class 2A state crown for the second straight year. A second-team pick last year, Jones boosted her 12-point scoring average to 16 points in the state tournament, where she also averaged 6.5 assists.

Katie Nelson, McDonogh: A repeat first-team All-City/County selection, the University of Massachusetts-bound senior grew into her leadership role and sparked a resurgent Eagles team to the No. 16 ranking and a 13-9 season. She averaged 14.6 points and finished her career with 1,002. The 5-7 point guard provided stellar defense and big scoring. Her season high was 27 points against Mercy.

Kelsey Twist, Roland Park: The repeat first-teamer finished her career with 1,148 points after averaging 14 a game this season. Although a true forward, the 5-10 senior spent a second season at point guard, providing the leadership, ball-handling and defense that kept the No. 18 Reds (13-12) in contention with most of the IAAM A Conference opponents. Twist, who also averaged four steals and 6.6 rebounds, will play lacrosse at Stanford.

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