She never rests on her laurels

Basketball: Courtney Gogolinski drives herself hard, and wants to help drive her Chesapeake-AA team one or two steps farther than last season.

January 05, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Off to a good start this season, Chesapeake senior point guard Courtney Gogolinski is still -- by her accounts -- a work in progress on the basketball court.

Each of the Cougars' game tapes (she is filmed by her mother, Karen) is closely dissected with the help of her father, Gary, an assistant coach. Missing a couple of free throws in a game means spending extra time after practice the next day, not leaving until sinking 10 in a row.

The 5-foot-9 Gogolinski, a four-year starter and first-team All-Anne Arundel County performer as a junior last season, is always striving to do more to help the No. 13 Cougars go beyond last year's Class 4A state semifinal showing.

"Just stuff that I expect from myself, whether it be a pass not getting deflected or the right decision on the court or making free throws. That's just me -- I'm like that off the court, too," said Gogolinski, who is averaging 11.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists a game.

Off the court, Gogolinski has a better-than 4.0 grade-point average while taking advanced courses. She has also excelled in soccer and lacrosse at Chesapeake.

On the court?

"Fundamentally, I don't think you get much sounder than Courtney is," said Chesapeake coach John Spinnenweber. "She's skilled in every area of the game. She's a really good passer, she shoots the ball well and she handles the ball well. That comes from her working on skills."

The Cougars (5-2) have five senior starters back from last year's 20-win team, with senior center Ginger Williams (15.5 ppg., 8.3 rpg) a strong presence down low and fellow guard Lynnea Spinnenweber (8.4 ppg.) another consistent scorer outside.

As a follow-up to the team's second-ever appearance in the state tournament last year, Gogolinski and the Cougars came into this season with a definite plan.

"We're building on last year," she said. "We didn't get quite as far as we wanted to, so our goal is to not just make it to the state tournament, but win it."

For her part, Gogolinski brings leadership as a two-year captain, versatility and that overwhelming desire to succeed. Outside or inside, she always provides cause for concern for an opposing coach.

"She's pretty strong, so she poses some matchup problems, depending on who is playing her," said Severna Park coach Bill Giblin, whose Falcons were able to find an answer Friday in a 55-42 victory over their county rivals.

"You can take away her outside game and then she can post up. Try to stop that and she takes it back outside. She's just a pretty good all-around player."

And a player who adamantly dislikes one thing in particular -- losing.

"When she loses, you don't want to talk to her right away. That's her competitiveness coming out," said her father.

Gogolinski was around basketball a lot in her younger days, following her dad (who was an assistant with the Chesapeake boys team before helping out with the girls last year) around at practice and watching her older brother, Jason, play. When she was 9, she started out by making the Amateur Athletic Union 10-year-old team.

It didn't take long for basketball to become her top sport over lacrosse and soccer. She plans to play college ball. The Naval Academy and Lees-McRae College, an NCAA Division II program in North Carolina, are at the top of her list.

Gogolinski is quick to credit her father for providing the strong basketball foundation.

"He was my coach when I first started," Gogolinski said. "And now, sometimes it can be hard separating the dad and the coach thing at home because he always wants to be my coach. Always. But it means a lot and I wouldn't be where I am without him."

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