Meade girls on a roll for 1st round of playoffs

Broadneck plays host to No. 20 Mustangs today

Notebook

High School

February 22, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

No county team ended the regular season hotter than the Meade girls basketball team, and Broadneck coach Bruce Springer is well aware of that.

The No. 20 Mustangs, who have won their last five games and 10 of their last 11, have outscored their opponents in those games by an average of 17 points.

That run is what concerns Springer as his Bruins squad welcomes Meade for a first-round Class 4A, East regional playoff contest in Annapolis at 5:15 p.m. today.

"I know that they've improved greatly over the course of the season," Springer said. "But I feel confident from the way we played them the first time."

That first time was a Jan. 25 meeting in which the Mustangs nearly squandered a 14-point lead before walking out of the Broadneck gym with a 46-43 victory.

"We didn't take care of the ball," said Meade coach David Wylie. "But we had the maturity to settle down and come away with the win."

Wylie said the Mustangs (15-7) have developed cohesive bonds with each other as the season has progressed and the result has been the five-game winning streak.

"The girls are playing with a lot of confidence right now," he said. "They're more confident on both ends of the court, and they expect to win."

Meade's leading scorer is sophomore point guard Sparkle Williamson, who is averaging 14.1 points a game.

But Wylie is quick to note that the team will need contributions from senior forward Latrice Cowart, junior guard Tami Webster and junior forward Shamir Footman -- all of whom posted double-digit point totals in a 61-56 victory over county championship finalist Chesapeake a week ago.

The Bruins (11-11) are powered by a pair of forwards in junior Danielle Gross (12.2 points a game) and senior Brooke Richards (11.0), but Springer said the key may be the backcourt play.

"We match up well against them, but the thing that concerns me is their guards," he said. "They're too quick. If we can slow the game down, I like our chances."

In other Class 4A, East first-round action, Arundel (15-7), the 2000 state champion, travels to Millersville to play Old Mill (5-17) at 6 p.m.

North County (0-22) gets another chance to get its first win of the season when it plays host to Glen Burnie (11-11) at 6 p.m. The Gophers have won the two previous meetings by a combined score of 129-55.

In the Class 3A, East region, Northeast (4-17) travels to Columbia to meet No. 15 Long Reach (14-8).

Moving up in hockey

When the Archbishop Spalding girls ice hockey team competes in the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League Junior Varsity Tournament next Wednesday, many of those players will not return to the tournament next season.

The Cavaliers, the county's only female ice hockey team, will field a varsity squad next winter, which will include many of the players on this season's JV roster.

Team manager Larry Nelson, whose daughter Samantha started the program three years ago, said the players are excited about stepping up to challenge teams like Holton-Arms, Chevy Chase and National Cathedral.

"They want to kick [butt]," said Nelson, who has been responsible for finding funding for the team which began play with second-hand jerseys and equipment. "They know it's going to be difficult, but they're up to the challenge. They want to play in the big leagues."

This year's JV team is 4-5-1 and has earned itself a following by applying pink hockey tape to their sticks.

Nelson said 45 girls recently came to an open-house session about the team and signed up for a summer clinic.

"The girls are having a ball," he said. "These are the types of kids who become dedicated to the sport."

Duckworth moves on

That Emily Duckworth is a wrestler for South River is nothing new in the county.

But the 103-pound freshman is believed to be the first female to reach a county championship tournament final.

Duckworth was a finalist in the junior-varsity tournament last Saturday. And although she was pinned by Meade freshman Ryan Jessie in 3:19, Duckworth said she was excited about her first-year experience on the wrestling team.

"I had no idea that this was going to happen," she said. "I came out here to learn about the sport and make friends. It's great."

Duckworth, who chose wrestling over swimming, said she wanted to participate in a sport that would prepare her for soccer.

"In the beginning, it was more like, `Who's she?'" she said. "Now, it's like, `You can take those guys down if you do this.' It's great to know that the guys are supporting you and trying to help you."

Duckworth finished with an 8-12 record and wrestled seven times as a member of the varsity team at 112 pounds.

Duckworth made a favorable impression on Mustangs coach Chad Vosburg.

"She's pretty tough," Vosburg said after watching Jessie win the JV championship final. "I was telling my coach that I was more nervous for that final than any other because I know she's a tough wrestler."

Seahawks coach John Klessinger said Duckworth, who plans to wrestle again next year, has become a valued member of the team.

"She never missed practice, she had a positive attitude, and she was always willing to learn," he said. "The team accepted her."

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