Westminster to resume schedule

Girls basketball to return after forfeit of one game in alleged-drinking action

High Schools

January 23, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

One day after nine Westminster High School girls basketball players were ruled ineligible for allegedly attending a party in December at which alcohol was served, the school said yesterday that it will resume its varsity schedule after just one forfeit.

The team, which forfeited Tuesday's game at Thomas Johnson after revelations of the alleged incident surfaced earlier in the day, will play at Liberty tomorrow at 7. Coach Dick Ebersole originally had said that the Owls would forfeit three games while it "regrouped" and evaluated its talent.

After deliberating the idea, however, athletic director Margaret Cush and other school officials yesterday decided to accelerate the process.

"They're going to bring some kids [from junior varsity] up to fill some positions," Cush said. "We're just going to get the ball rolling and get back to normal."

Cush said that the school still expects to field varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams, as it did prior to Tuesday's decision by Westminster Principal John Seaman.

Nine varsity players were ruled ineligible for 45 days for violating a county policy that prohibits students from possessing or using drugs or alcohol on or off school property, or knowingly and willingly placing themselves in the proximity of a person possessing drugs or alcohol.

The disciplinary action allegedly stemmed from a gathering held on Dec. 20 at the home of a player's parent. The No. 19 Owls (9-4), once considered front-runners to repeat as county champions, return three players who sources close to the situation said played no roles in the alleged incident. They are defending county Player of the Year Emily Bollinger, a 6-foot-1 junior forward, senior guard Carmen Fajardo and junior forward Natasha Morrison.

Those three players and the junior varsity practiced for nearly two hours yesterday.

All three are expected to play even more crucial roles on a team that now will be dominated by junior varsity call-ups.

"I think the situation at Westminster kind of takes a little luster off [the county race]," Century coach Joel Beard said. "If you play them, you want to play their best kids. Certainly, losing nine kids is going to be hard on them, but the three kids they have left are pretty good players."

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