All-anne Arundel County

Basketball

March 19, 2003|By GLENN P. GRAHAM

GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Alex McGuire

Arundel, It hasn't taken McGuire long to show all the different layers in her game. Playing guard last year, she set a program mark with 349 points as a freshman. Asked to play closer to the basket at forward this season, the 5-foot-9 standout showed she could hold her own there as well.

Stopping McGuire from getting to the basket proved the toughest assignment in the county this winter. She averaged 18 points and 7.8 rebounds, saving her best moments for when they were needed most in leading the Wildcats to the top of the county standings as well as a sixth Class 4A state tournament appearance.

"Alex loves challenges and accepts each one. She just comes to play - consistent - whatever is needed to be done," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers.

Added in is her hard work at the defensive end and a fine feel for the game, making McGuire the most complete player in the county this season. In two wins over Severna Park, she scored 25 and 26 points, with her season-high of 28 coming against Meade.

GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR

Lee Rogers

Arundel

Searching for a word to describe what it was like playing under Rogers, Arundel senior point guard Jessie Collins chose "demanding." She then added: "He wants us to do our best and he knows our best, so when he doesn't see it, he yells at us to get us back on track."

The No. 2 Wildcats (22-4) were clearly back on track this season. They closed out the regular season with 10 straight wins to finish atop the county standings; rolled past three opponents - by a 33-point average margin - to win their sixth Class 4A East region; and gave two-time state champion Churchill all it could handle before falling, 63-60, in the state semifinals.

A 56-53 loss to Chesapeake on Jan. 17 - the Wildcats' only setback in going 15-1 in county play - was the team's turning point.

Pressure defense, understanding roles and playing as one were keys. "We talked about what we had to do to get better and worked hard on improving. We're always listening to each other, trying to find ways to improve, and everything fell into place," said Rogers, who is 269-82 in 13 seasons.

GIRLS FIRST TEAM

Jessie Collins

Arundel, senior

No player better depicts the hard-working ways that have become the foundation of the Wildcats program than Collins, who closed out a gutsy four-year career with ideal play at point guard. Completely healthy from surgery on both knees that limited her sophomore and junior seasons, Collins was the team leader in the Wildcats' run to the Class 4A state semifinals. She averaged 14 points and 5.6 assists to place sixth all time for the school in points (946) and third in assists (347). "With what she went through and to fight back, that says a lot," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers.

Bri Gauthier

St. Mary's, sophomore

A second-team All-County selection last year as a freshman, the gifted point guard makes the jump to the first team following a do-it-all season that had veteran coach Harry Dobson asking: "Where would we have been without Bri?" The No. 18 Saints finished with a 16-10 mark and Gauthier's numbers - 14.4 points, 5.2 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 4.3 steals - all improved from her freshman season. Smart with the ball and feisty on defense, Gauthier was selected to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference all-star team a second straight season.

Courtney Gogolinski

Chesapeake, senior

The 5-foot-9 point guard could affect a game in a number of ways, beginning with a competitive nature that brought out the best in her and teammates. The repeat first-team selection and four-year starter was an inside-outside threat, depending on who was guarding her. She finished the season averaging 11.5 points, six rebounds and 5.8 assists to help lead the No. 15 Cougars to an 18-4 mark. "Her dedication is unmatched and she made everybody around her better," said Chesapeake coach John Spinnenweber.

C'Vette Henson

Annapolis

The talented three-year starter emerged as the Panthers' go-to player this season, doing a lot to lead the team to a 14-8 mark. Playing at small forward and shooting guard, Henson was a constant threat with the ball, and the attention she drew from opposing defenses created opportunities for her teammates. She finished the season averaging 18.4 points, five rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. "C'Vette expanded her game each season. She could handle the ball, pass it, shoot it, take it to the basket and rebound," said Annapolis coach John Brady.

Jessica Norris

Severna Park, senior

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