All-carroll County Basketball

High Schools

March 21, 2004|By Rich Scherr

GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jen Walkling

Westminster, senior

After sitting out much of last season, Walkling returned with a vengeance, averaging 12.2 points and a county-best 11.4 rebounds for the county champion Owls.

Walkling, who will play for Fairleigh Dickinson next season, committed herself to building her strength in the weight room during the offseason. Once the season began, she used that strength to out-muscle opponents in the paint, establishing herself as the workhorse of a 20-win team. She dominated underneath the basket, making more than 57 percent of her shots to lead the county by a wide margin.

Just as important as her offense was her defense. Her presence in the paint made it difficult for opponents to get uncontested looks at the basket from close range. Once a shot was up, she always found a way to grab the rebound, preventing second-chance baskets. Perhaps her most telling game came against Woodlawn in the Class 4A North title game. Despite playing with a severe inner-ear infection, Walkling collected a game-high 22 rebounds.

GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR

Kevin Lawrence

Westminster

Just over a year ago, Westminster was trying to come to terms issues off the court that divided the team and destroyed its hopes for the postseason. Under new coach Kevin Lawrence, the program is back in harmony and atop the county standings.

After nine players were suspended last winter, the team went into turmoil, with resentment and personality conflicts abounding. Lawrence's job - to turn the group back into a cohesive unit.

To do that, the 28-year-old Pennsylvania native stressed the team concept, organizing trips to the movies and team dinners designed to help players bond. "I had no reason to believe that we couldn't make this group into a team," Lawrence said.

The strategy paid off. Led by All-County forwards Jen Walkling and Emily Bollinger, the Owls finished 20-5, winning the Carroll County title and advancing to the Class 4A North championship game.

GIRLS FIRST TEAM

Melissa Axtell

South Carroll, sophomore

Axtell continued to progress into one of the top frontcourt players in Carroll County this season. The 5-foot-11 center averaged 8.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and nearly two blocks, helping the Cavaliers to a surprising second-place finish in the county. She made a habit of posting up and making strong moves to the basket. Axtell did some of her best work in a playoff win at Fort Hill, collecting 24 points and 20 rebounds.

Emily Bollinger

Westminster, senior

After winning consecutive county Player of the Year honors, Bollinger closed out her high school career with another standout season. The 6-foot-1, St. Francis (Pa.)-bound Bollinger led the county in scoring at 13.8 points a game and free-throw percentage (.797 percent). She also finished fourth in rebounding (8.6). Together with teammate Jen Walkling, she gave the Owls a one-two inside punch that helped carry them to the county championship.

Allie Drechsler

Winters Mill, sophomore

Drechsler established herself as one of the top point guards in the county, averaging 12.1 points, four assists and five steals. Her efforts helped Winters Mill to 10 wins in its first season of varsity competition. Drechsler continually showed good court sense, quick reactions and a knack for putting the ball in the basket. She was also a team leader and a standout at the defensive end. She is expected to be a force in the county for the next two years.

Carly Rihard

North Carroll, senior

After playing on the wing last season, Rihard switched to point guard and came through in a big way for the Panthers. She averaged 4.5 assists, tripling that number from a year ago. She also doubled her rebounds per game from three to more than six, and put up a triple double (13 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) against South Carroll. The 5-foot-8 Rihard, also a standout in soccer and lacrosse, brought a high-energy level to the court and was a team leader.

Lauren Schwarzmann

Century, senior

One of the top all-around athletes in Carroll County, Schwarzmann again showed her abilities on the basketball court, coming up with the best statistical season of her high school career. She led the county with 4.9 assists a game, and finished second among the county's public school players in steals (4.5). She helped Century to 13 wins despite losing both of its first-team All-County players from a year ago. She has signed to play lacrosse at Johns Hopkins.

Jen Stambaugh

Francis Scott Key, senior

Eagles coach Ed Williar calls the 5-foot-10 Stambaugh one of the hardest workers he's ever coached. She made that hard work pay off this season, averaging 11 points and 9.1 rebounds. Also a first-team pick for volleyball last fall, Stambaugh could dominate around the net, but also showed a high level of proficiency handling the ball and shooting from the perimeter. She expects to play either volleyball or basketball at the Division III collegiate level.

THE GIRLS

Player of the Year: Jen Walkling, Westminster

Coach of the Year: Kevin Lawrence, Westminster

First team

Name School Class Position

Allie Drechsler Winters Mill Sophomore Guard

Carly Rihard North Carroll Senior Guard

Lauren Schwarzmann Century Senior Guard

Emily Bollinger Westminster Senior Forward

Jen Stambaugh Francis Scott Key Senior Forward

Jen Walkling Westminster Senior Forward

Melissa Axtell South Carroll Sophomore Center

Second team

Name School Class Position

Brittany Harman Liberty Senior Guard

Chelsea Loskarn Century Junior Guard

Stacey Malarkey Francis Scott Key Junior Guard

Sieara Saunders Winters Mill Sophomore Guard

Stephanie Scurci South Carroll Junior Guard

Natasha Morrison Westminster Senior Forward

Jessica Smith North Carroll Junior Forward

Note: Teams selected by Rich Scherr after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.

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