Player Of The Year

High School Sports

Girls Basketball

March 22, 2004

Alex McGuire

Arundel, junior

The Wildcats' 5-foot-9 guard doesn't go looking for the spotlight. She just lets it come to her - much like her game.

A well-rounded player with a dead-eye perimeter shot, McGuire averaged 25 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists, and had 114 steals this season. She broke several school and state tournament records as she led the No. 1 Wildcats to a 26-2 season, the Anne Arundel County championship and the state Class 4A crown.

"What makes her one of the better players is how she prepares to get there," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers. "Alex works very hard in practice. She has a good work ethic on the court and in the classroom. I think it starts in the classroom. She knows what goals she wants to reach and she works hard to reach all of those goals."

As a result, McGuire is a 4.0 student and Arundel High's all-time leading scorer.

The two-time Anne Arundel County Player of the Year and repeat All-Metro selection enjoyed a fitting end to an outstanding season. In the state Class 4A final, she scored 34 points and went 18-for-18 from the free-throw line as the Wildcats beat No. 4 Woodlawn, 87-64.

In that contest, McGuire set a state record for most free throws in a tournament game. In addition, no one had ever shot 100 percent from the line on so many attempts.

She also had five rebounds, six steals and four assists in the final. For the tournament, she went 25-for-26 from the free-throw line.

Even though McGuire still has a year to go, her name is already all over the Wildcats' record book, too. She scored 700 points, a single-season record, en route to becoming the program's quickest player to reach 1,000 points. By season's end, she had scored 1,517 points in her three-year career.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Kevin Lawrence

Westminster

The 28-year-old Maryland graduate accepted a huge challenge when he took over a reeling Westminster program last fall. Reluctant to accept the position at first, Lawrence guided the No. 11 Owls to a 20-5 season, the Carroll County championship and the Class 4A North regional final.

The Owls program had been torn apart in January 2003 when nine players were suspended for the season after attending a party in which alcohol was served.

Lawrence's job was to bring a team in turmoil back together. His background as an assistant coach at Delone Catholic in Philadelphia and Gettysburg College and as an Amateur Athletic Union coach had not prepared him for this.

"It's difficult enough to take responsibility for a group of 40 teenaged girls," said Lawrence, "let alone under the circumstances that this team had coming out of last season."

To counter any leftover turmoil, Lawrence encouraged team bonding trips right from the start.

"Five days into the season, we took 36 kids to dinner and the movies, because we wanted them to get to know one another off the court. That makes things go a lot better when you're down by two with eight seconds left."

The strategy paid off. Led by All-Carroll County forwards Jen Walkling and Emily Bollinger, the Owls got back on a winning course. In the regional final, they came within 53-49 of eventual state finalist and No. 4 Woodlawn.

"The girls demonstrated a lot of maturity to put the past behind them and move forward together," said Lawrence.

FIRST TEAM

Andrea Dodrill

Bryn Mawr, senior

The 6-foot power forward left her mark on the Mawrtians' program by becoming the first in school history to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds. Her 1,406 career points are the most in school history.

Those career numbers reflect a season in which Dodrill was second in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference in scoring (17 points) and rebounding (12) after leading the conference in both categories a year ago. One of her best outings was a 16-point, 14-rebound effort against conference champ St. Frances.

A repeat first-team pick, she continued to lead her team at both ends of the court as the only starting senior. Her post game was difficult to handle, but she could also hit from the perimeter, sending one game into overtime with a three-pointer.

Dodrill will play next season at Johns Hopkins.

Timisha Gomez

Long Reach, senior

The 5-foot-8 guard was at her best wreaking havoc on opposing offenses, forcing turnovers, grabbing rebounds and igniting the Lightning's transition game.

As a result, the Howard County Player of the Year led the No. 17 Lightning in four statistical categories, averaging 16.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 3.1 assists.

Her role took on even greater importance when Long Reach lost senior forward Whitney Ward to a season-ending knee injury with seven games left.

Gomez helped the Lightning (20-3) to the best overall record in school history as well as the best county mark (18-2). She finished her career as the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,406 career points.

A two-time Street & Smith's preseason honorable mention All-American, Gomez will continue her career at Saint Joseph's.

Chandrea Jones

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