What if those 7-4 Century girls could shoot?

`Personnel issue' causes wrestling coach to resign


High Schools

January 24, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Their defense is superior. Their intensity is relentless. And they have athletic ability in abundance.

To Century girls basketball coach Joel Beard, only one factor is keeping his first-year Knights from becoming one of the metro area's top teams.

Their shooting is abysmal.

"We're winning games but not shooting much over 30 percent," said Beard, whose team is 7-4 overall, 4-1 in Carroll County. "We've been very fortunate. It's a skill we've got to get better at."

Case in point was a loss to Thomas Johnson earlier this month. Despite giving up just 47 points, a figure that for most teams would signal victory, the Knights shot just 15 percent from the floor and lost, 47-24.

"To quote one of my players, if we'd have made just a couple more, then we'd only have been lousy," Beard said.

They shot 23 percent in a loss to Westminster, and against South Carroll on Tuesday, they mustered just enough offense to win, 35-33.

So what's the problem?

"I think a lot of it is that they're spread very thin," Beard said. "A lot of them play two or three sports. But I also think shooting the basketball is one of the most difficult skills to learn, along with hitting a baseball and a couple things like that. It's not something you cannot do regularly and still maintain your level of proficiency.

"You can't replace the ability to shoot the ball in this game. I can teach you a lot of other things in-season, but the shooting part of it, I can't."

Size - the lack of it - has been another factor.

Though the Knights can go 5-foot-9 and 5-10 inside, foul trouble at times has made them as small as 5-6 in the middle, making points in the paint a difficult proposition.

Add to that injuries to some of their best shooters, including a bad ankle for junior Mandy Psenicska that Beard said would keep many other players on the bench, and it's a wonder how Century has kept winning.

Led by county soccer Player of the Year Kelly Kasper, however, the Knights have managed, at the very least, to stay competitive in all but two games. They've put themselves in excellent position to make a run at the county title, particularly after nine of 12 players from front-runner Westminster were ruled ineligible earlier this week.

"You never know how we're going to play," Beard said. "I have some really good kids, and we're making an adjustment. We're not the best team, and we're not the worst. We're hanging in there. For our first varsity year, I'm not saying I'm totally satisfied, but we're doing OK."

Century coach resigns

Todd Keefer has resigned as Century's wrestling coach following an investigation into an undisclosed personnel matter, the school said. He has been replaced for the rest of the season by assistant Stephen Speck.

"It was a personnel issue having to deal with some things," athletic director Craig Walker said. "That's really all I can say."

Speck's first match as coach is tonight, when Century plays host to Westminster. The Knights are 2-7 overall, 1-3 in the county.

Falcons track soars

Winters Mill had no trouble making an impact in its first Carroll County indoor track and field championships on Wednesday night.

The Falcons girls team contended until the end and tied Westminster (68 points) for second in the meet at Hagerstown Community College. The boys were third.

"They far exceeded my expectations. We made it exciting," said coach Jim Shank, the former long-time coach of Westminster. "They're all freshman and sophomores, so we'll be back."

Kathleen Hertsch sparked the girls with an impressive performance. The freshman won the 500-, 800- and 1,600-meter runs and helped in the third-place 1,600 relay. Anna Mackley also helped by taking second in the 55 dash and the 55 hurdles. Haley Zincon was third in the high jump.

Joe Taylor led the boys with a victory in the 300 plus a second-place finish in the 55-meter dash. Chris Stinette won the 500 while the Falcons also captured first place in the 1,600 relay and second in the 800 relay.

Cracking the rankings

Francis Scott Key junior Lee Crowl is the highest-ranked Carroll County wrestler in his weight class, according to the latest Maryland State Wrestling Association rankings.

Crowl, who finished fourth in the state last year, is ranked fourth at 140 pounds. The only other county wrestler ranked among the top six in his class is South Carroll's Drew Winfield, sixth at 160.

Former South Carroll standout Andrew Gold, now a Mount St. Joseph junior, was top-ranked at 103 pounds.

College wrestling

With McDaniel College's gym the site of two basketball games, Winters Hill will play host to five-team collegiate wrestling competition this weekend, featuring Maryland, Ursinus, Washington & Lee, Gallaudet and McDaniel.

The four Division III schools will compete in a standard quadrangular match, starting at 11 a.m. tomorrow. McDaniel also will wrestle the Division I Terrapins for the first time, about 12:30 p.m. tomorrow.

Jeff Seidel contributed to this article.

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