Snowden relishes four years

Senior ramped up her game and leadership at Seton Keough, finishing second on the Gators' all-time scoring list with 1,149 points



Seton Keough senior Haliena Snowden wasn't really happy just to play in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference girls basketball championship. She wanted to win it.

For a competitor who has raised the intensity of Seton Keough basketball over her four years, the disappointment in the 42-31 loss to St. Frances was understandable.

"I wanted to get here and we got here," said the 6-foot forward after the loss on Feb. 19. "I'm not happy that we lost, but we got here. I really do wish I had one more year."

Even without the perfect ending, Snowden has plenty to be happy about over her stellar four-year career.

She leaves Seton Keough with 1,149 career points, second on the Gators' all-time scoring list. This season, she averaged 14 points and seven rebounds while leading the No. 2 Gators to a 23-5 season.

"She stepped up her game a lot," Gators coach Jackie Boswell said. "She got to come out of the five spot and do more at the four, handling the ball and shooting the ball from outside. In some big games, she hit some threes, where in the past, she wouldn't have tried them."

Snowden's leadership was never more evident than in the A Conference semifinal, when she led the upset of then-No. 1 Towson Catholic. She scored 10 of her 20 points in a 28-point third quarter for the Gators to power a 72-48 victory.

"In that TC game, she took over the third quarter physically, and everybody else just followed," Boswell said.

Boswell said Snowden, one of only two Gators seniors, will be hard to replace - and not just for her exploits on the court.

"Her enthusiasm and integrity," Boswell said. "She's got a 3.7 GPA. She's never been in trouble in school. She shows what we want in our school. Haliena set a great example as a model student-athlete."

Who's next?

When Patterson 215-pounder Deshawn Barrett won his Class 4A-3A state wrestling title last March, he ended a five-year drought since a Baltimore City wrestler had captured a state crown.

Poly heavyweight Dennis Scott had been the city's previous champion, earning that distinction in the Class 2A-1A state tournament of 1999.

City wrestlers had come close on six other occasions since their programs joined the state association in 1993, with Dunbar's Bruce Pendles (1994-'95), Martius Harding ('93), Hermondez Thompson ('94) and Dennis Perry ('98) and Walbrook's Jamil Stokeley ('94) placing second.

Entering this weekend's event at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House, Mervo junior Lamone Wilson (112) of 4A-3A and Poly sophomore Sammy Johnson (140) of 2A-1A are considered to have the best chances of earning titles.

By winning last weekend's Class 2A-1A North regional tournament, Johnson gained a measure of redemption while also overcoming some family tension. Johnson won his semifinal, 12-3, over his nephew, Western Tech senior Marcel Jones, who had become his school's first Baltimore County champion a week earlier.

Johnson then avenged his only loss of the year by defeating Pikesville's George Pikounis, 6-1, for the title. Johnson's effort came a week after he had won the Baltimore City title, and it completed his recovery from a broken hand that had caused him to miss six weeks of action.

Johnson, whose older brother is Jones' father, rose to 15-1 on the year.

"I was kind of nervous when I saw the brackets. Everybody figured he was better than me, but we'd never really wrestled because he's always been heavier," said Johnson, 15. "I just wrestled my hardest. There's no hard feelings either way. He's family."

Looking for a title

Baltimore City's top two girls basketball teams, No. 4 Western and No. 10 Southside, rank among those favored to challenge for state titles next weekend.

Western is the top seed in the Class 3A North region, while the Jaguars are top-seeded in Class 1A South.

If they can win regional titles on Friday, both would advance to the state semifinals. The Doves would play March 9 at UMBC's RAC Arena. The Jaguars would play March 10.

Both could face interesting challenges if they reach the semifinals. The Doves likely will face a Prince George's County team in the semifinals and could meet No. 8 River Hill in the title game.

Southside likely will face No. 7 New Town in the semifinals. The Jaguars lost to the Titans in last season's finale, but were later awarded the title after New Town was stripped of it for using two players who did not live in the school district.

The city has gone two years without a state champion. Dunbar won the last of its four consecutive titles in 2003. Western, which won in 1994 and 1995, is the only other city girls program to win a basketball title since the city schools joined the state association in the 1992-93 school year.

Rich tradition

During the past nearly two decades, no area has dominated the public school boys basketball state tournament more than Baltimore City, with seven schools contributing to the total of 20 championships.

Dunbar leads the way with 10 state titles over three of the four classifications, with five in the 2A, four in 1A and one in 3A.

Southern (now Digital Harbor) has won three championships, with 4A titles in '94 and '96 and a 3A crown in '93.

Lake Clifton ('95 and '99) has twice been a 4A champ; Douglass (in 2002 and 2004) has twice captured 3A titles; and Southwestern ('97) and Walbrook (`05) have each earned one 4A crown.

Forest Park was the Class 1A state champion in '98.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.