State Basketball Semifinals - LOCAL TEAMS

Girls

High Schools

March 10, 2005

River Hill

River Hill coach Teresa Waters coached Oakland Mills to the state final in 1991 and state title in 1998, and now has the top-ranked Hawks (25-0) in the state semifinals seeking their first state title since the Clarksville school opened nine years ago.

River Hill is a powerful offensive team that averages 67.3 points, led by junior point guard Keisha Eaddy's 22 points and 6-foot-4 senior center Brittany Gordon's 19.6 points.

Both have scored more than 1,000 career points. Eaddy holds school career records for steals and assists; Gordon, who has signed with Delaware, holds school career records for rebounding and blocked shots.

The Hawks, who allow 37.3 points per game, have won by double figures in 24 of 25 games, and only two teams have scored 50 or more points against them.

They face sixth-ranked Milford Mill (21-3), which averages 68.5 points and allows 32.3.

By beating three-time defending champion Gywnn Park for the 3A East regional title, River Hill broke a six-year streak of losing in regionals to Prince George's County teams.

"That was one of the biggest highs I've ever had," Waters said. "The monkey's finally off our back."

The Hawks appear to be the favorite, but in 1991 Oakland Mills was favored until its star point guard was taken to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy the morning of the state final.

So Waters has learned the hard way that anything can happen.

- Rick Belz

Milford Mill

In their seventh appearance in the state tournament in the past eight years, No. 6 Milford Mill faces a tall order in trying to contain No. 1 River Hill's 6-4 senior center Brittany Gordon in their Class 3A semifinal meeting.

The Millers' top inside player is their scoring leader, Chelsea Jeter, a senior forward averaging 19 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. But Jeter is just 5-10 and she will need some help, especially on the defensive end.

To aid Jeter, coach DeToiya McAliley will call on 5-11 senior Christina Barnes, 6-1 senior Siearra Parker and 6-2 Erica Harrigan, who moved up from the junior varsity for the regional playoffs.

- Katherine Dunn

South River

South River coach Dave Klingel describes his No. 3 Seahawks as small, unorthodox, hard-nosed and a get-it-done team.

More importantly, the first-year coach says his group is attentive.

Constantly battling mismatches because of the team's lack of size, Klingel and his coaching staff have regularly had to devise different defensive schemes to shut down opponents. Today's biggest task against Thomas Johnson in a 4A semifinal will be limiting Patriot standouts Kem Wilson and Nia Josiah, who have combined to average 36.5 points per game this season.

"Our girls do a great job of listening," Klingel said. "They do what we ask of them and how we ask them to do it. As a coach, that's all you can ask for is kids that cooperate with you at all times. They've been fantastic.`

- Glenn P. Graham

City College

About midseason, City coach George Petrides found a new, steady force to help his No. 12 Knights go on to win their second straight Baltimore City and Class 2A regional championships. She had been right there for four years.

Senior forward Ebony Smith, who made the critical play in the city title game, has averaged 9.3 points and 12 rebounds this season to give the senior-laden Knights (19-7) a second inside threat along with 6-1 center Ashley Branch, who is headed to Bucknell.

"Ebony showed signs of being a tremendous basketball player as a freshman, but she never lived up to that potential until now," said Petrides. "She started getting confidence, got a little stronger, got in better shape. She knew what her role was, [and] she works well with Ashley."

- Katherine Dunn

Winters Mill

With just one junior varsity season followed by a .500 inaugural varsity season last year, Winters Mill is one win away from reaching the Class 2A title game.

The Falcons have proven to be a quick study.

"Last year, we went through some struggles being very young, with the majority of our team being sophomores and three juniors. This year, the kids have matured very well, so it's been a really enjoyable experience," said coach Bernie Koontz. "It's a good group of kids that have worked hard and set their sights on being able to establish a good foundation for the future of the program."

With point guard Allie Drechsler controlling the pace, forward Caitlin Byrne emerging as one of Carroll County's top post players, and Sieara Saunders capable of taking over a game, the Falcons hope to have the ingredients to knock off defending champ Potomac in tomorrow's semifinal.

- Glenn P. Graham

Southside

The motivation for No. 9 Southside's return to the state Class 1A final four began almost a year ago.

The Jaguars had barely left the court at UMBC's RAC Arena after losing to Southern of Garrett County in the final, 41-31, when they started plotting their return to the state tournament.

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