Backcourt out front

For the county's top contenders in girls basketball, this is going to be the season of the guard

Notebook

December 21, 2005|By GLENN GRAHAM | GLENN GRAHAM,SUN REPORTER

Three weeks into the girls basketball season and a few things are clear in Howard County.

It's all about the guards this season; three-time defending champ River Hill with All-Metro senior guard Keisha Eaddy looks a notch above the rest; and any of a number of teams - including Mount Hebron, Atholton and Long Reach - could emerge to present a challenge.

Which team moves to the front is the most interesting question.

Mount Hebron (5-0) is off to a fast start with an impressive 55-32 win over Atholton last Wednesday serving as its high mark to date. The Vikings had five guards in at the same time for a four-minute stretch late in the second quarter, helping build a 32-11 halftime cushion.

Just two days before, Atholton was having an easy time against Long Reach, junior guard Julie Taylor controlling play and finishing with 21 points, as the Raiders handed the Lightning its first loss, 79-57.

While Long Reach guard Carlie Nethken is averaging around 15 points and five assists, Lightning coach Kevin Broadus said his team is averaging 20 turnovers.

"We need to protect the basketball a lot better - that's way too many turnovers," said Broadus. "I think it may just take some time for some of the new girls to get used to what we're doing."

No team in the county had a tougher early-season schedule than the Raiders, who for the second year in a row opened with River Hill, Long Reach and Mount Hebron. Last year, they went 0-3 at the start and finished 14-6, so coach Maureen Shacreaw is one up with the win over Long Reach and has the tough part of the schedule out of the way.

After watching Eaddy put up 23 and control play to lead the Hawks to a 64-36 win over her Raiders in the opener, Shacreaw was impressed.

"River Hill is the team to beat - Keisha is that good," she said. "After that, there's four or five teams that anybody can beat anybody. From my standpoint, it's going to come down to whose guards come to play."

River Hill is adjusting and winning at the same time. With 6-foot-4 center Brittany Gordon graduated, Hawks coach Teresa Waters is without a 6-foot player for the first time in her eight years coaching.

She expects to see a number of different defenses geared toward stopping Eaddy.

"Where Keisha is concerned, her level of play has to continue to grow and she has to be patient and let things happen," said Waters.

"We just practice hard and do as many little things right as possible to get us over the hump," she said.

Homecoming

Andrew Kosiba, a 2002 Long Reach grad, said he got a lot out of his four-year wrestling career in the Lightning program. Now, he's giving back.

When former coach Bill Flick stepped down after last year and a replacement couldn't be found, Kosiba stepped in on late notice to keep the program afloat.

A student at the University of Maryland who also has a part-time job, he's found a way to juggle his extensive schedule and is enjoying his new role.

"I'm just trying to keep it alive because I don't know what I would have done without wrestling when I was in high school," said Kosiba, who was a two-time regional qualifier.

Kosiba, who helped out the previous two seasons, talked about the discipline and confidence he gained from wrestling and how it helped him grow.

He's hoping the 11 wrestlers he's working with this season - including his brother, Stephen - can reap the same benefits.

Off to a hot start

Coming off a .500 season, the Chapelgate girls basketball team is off to a 6-1 start with a 2-1 record in a balanced Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference.

Freshman point guard Julia Groves has been a welcome addition, averaging 15 points and six assists; sophomore small forward Emily Wolven, a transfer from Mount Hebron, is the Yellowjackets' top three-point threat, averaging nine points; and senior center Betsy Raine is taking care of the boards with eight rebounds a game to go with six points.

Coach Jim Barber said the seven-team conference is wide open, with Severn and Pallotti leading the pack in the early going.

"We enjoy playing in the B Conference. Night in, night out you'll always be in a good game," he said.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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