Crossover hit: Barnes goes from player to coach

Former Joppatowne star takes over Aberdeen girls


High School

January 03, 2002|By Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield | Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

For former Joppatowne and Villanova basketball standout Brandi Barnes, the transition from playing to coaching has been smooth - with one exception.

"The only frustrating part is when we're down, I want to go out and play," Barnes said with a laugh.

Two weeks ago, the Aberdeen coaching job fell into Barnes' lap when the promising young Eagles were suddenly without a coach.

At an Aberdeen-Joppatowne boys basketball game, Barnes said, she asked Aberdeen assistant principal Melvin Johnson, her former Mariners coach, about substitute teaching. He suggested she take the coaching position, too.

Under Barnes, the Eagles have gone 2-2, including a 1-2 finish at last week's highly competitive Forestville Tournament, to bring their overall record to 4-4. Guards Shareice Galloway and Theresa Johnson lead the Eagles, averaging about 12 points each.

A 6-foot-3 center, Barnes was a three-time All-Harford County selection at Joppatowne and led the Mariners to three appearances in the state semifinals. She played a year at Maryland and then transferred to Villanova, where she earned third-team All Big East Conference honors last winter while taking graduate courses.

Barnes, who planned a career in sports marketing, caught the coaching bug in Switzerland where she played professionally from August to November.

"One of your duties when you play professional ball over there is to coach," said Barnes. "I coached 13-15-year-old boys. It was a challenge because they spoke German and that's just difficult with the language barrier, but I really enjoyed it. I thought, I wouldn't mind doing this at all."

Tonight at 5, the Eagles face a big Harford County test when they travel to meet defending county champion C. Milton Wright.

Barnes said she is pleased with the progress her team has made so far.

"Game by game I can see we're getting better," Barnes said. "I see them trying to do what I tell them, but they're not going to get it in two weeks. It's going to take a little more time."

Public vs. private

Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association wrestling power Mount St. Joseph will visit defending Anne Arundel County public school tournament champ Severna Park at 6 p.m. on Friday for an intriguing dual meet.

In recent weeks, public schools have achieved rare success against top private schools. Curley (1-0) was ranked No. 1 for the third straight year, but last weekend Mount Hebron (6-0) of Howard County upset the Friars to win the Arundel Tournament and take over the No. 1 ranking - its first in school history.

A week earlier, Mount St. Joseph (0-1), then ranked No. 7, was taken out by Howard County's Hammond (2-1) in a dual meet. It was believed to be the Gaels' first loss to a Maryland public school since state champion Eastern Tech defeated the program in the late 1980s.

This year's Gaels are coached by Mount St. Joseph alumnus Jay Braunstein, who was an assistant to Old Mills' Mike Hampe when the Scorpions won a state-record six state tournament championships in seven years through 1995.

Leading the Gaels are state champs Bruce Dulski (103) and Sam Lewnes (160), third-place state finisher Aaron Herwig (130) and fourth-place state finisher Tim Bohlman (125).

Severna Park (3-1), coached by Paul Joyce, features third-place county finishers Shawn Smith (135) and James Cahoon (189). Cahoon is 11-1, and Steve Smith, Shawn's twin, is solid at 145.

Different pursuits

Former world boxing champion James "Buster" Douglas, who shocked the world with his knockout of Mike Tyson nearly 12 years ago, once was a scholarship basketball player and college roommate of Douglass basketball coach Rodney Coffield at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa.

"J.D. was my roommate for about a month. He was on a basketball scholarship and was a force on the court. He enjoyed basketball, but his dad said let's do this boxing thing and they took off," said Coffield, a 1980 Dunbar graduate. "We kept in touch. I talked to him twice after he beat Tyson. J.D. had kind of taken me under his wing. He was a really good guy."

Also of note

McDonogh's Chet Naylor (130), Zak Johns (145), Travis Holmes (152) and Geoff Miller (171) won individual titles at last weekend's Capitol Challenge in Herdon, Va., as the No. 2 Eagles finished sixth overall.

Over the past two weekends, Mount St. Joseph's No. 2 Sam Lewnes (160) has placed second and fourth at major tournaments. The first one was a 34-team Eagles Classic at Colonial Forge High in Stafford, Va. The second was the prestigious PowerAde Tournament at Trinity High in Washington, Pa.

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