All-metro Girls Basketball

March 22, 2006

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Marah Strickland

Towson Catholic

The gifted junior transferred from St. John's at Prospect Hall and promptly led the Owls to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference regular-season championship - their best finish in 21 years.

A 6-foot guard with an impressive jump shot, Strickland averaged 23.2 points and shot 40.2 percent from three-point range in leading the No. 4 Owls to a 22-5 season against the area's toughest schedule.

A Street & Smith's honorable mention All-American in 2004 and 2005, she was rated one of the nation's top 10 sophomore guards last season by USA Today. She sure lived up to that billing.

"The couple times we played her, we came away thinking we played a good defensive game, and then you see she's got 24," Roland Park coach Scott Buckley said. "Her game from 15-to-18 feet is really impressive. She doesn't have to get to the rim for a layup, because she can hurt you from the perimeter. She has an unbelievable jump shot and she has the size, so she's a tough cover."

Strickland could do a little bit of everything for the Owls, but she proved toughest near the three-point line. She could drive by an opponent, but more often faked the drive and pulled up for a smooth jumper.

A humble, unselfish player, Strickland blended well into an already strong Towson Catholic squad, as they lost only one A Conference game during the regular season and reached the tournament semifinal, falling in an upset to No. 2 Seton Keough.

"She sees the floor very well and she can create for others," Owls coach Matt Fisher said. "Marah can pretty much do it all."

Among the colleges she's considering: Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, Stanford and Vanderbilt.

COACH OF THE YEAR

TERESA WATERS

River Hill

In her 25th year of coaching in Howard County, Waters brought the Hawks back from last year's devastating state semifinal loss to win the Class 3A state crown and finish 28-0.

The No. 3 Hawks were not favored to win the state title this season as they had been a year ago, but that did not matter to Waters and her players. They came into the tournament ranked No. 8 but polished off then-No. 4 Western, 51-46, in the title game.

"We had one true basketball player [All-Metro guard Keisha Eaddy] and four overachievers," said Waters, also the 1999-2000 All-Metro Coach of the Year.

"It was a total team effort. We graduated five seniors and one of them was a 6-foot-4 four kid [Brittany Gordon] who was hard to replace. Everybody felt like they played a part. Everybody accepted their role and did it to the best of their ability."

While Eaddy, who is headed to Temple, led the team in most statistical categories, she always played within the team and meshed perfectly with her fellow starters, Cari Haas, Kelsey Erdman, Meg Sims and Allison Geoghan.

Waters used a fist to symbolize her team philosophy, something she adopted from a book by Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"The fist is an indication of the unity among the five players on the court at any given time. It's one fist made up of five fingers. With all five fingers working in accord, it's amazing what can be accomplished," Waters said.

Waters, who spent 17 years at Oakland Mills before moving to River Hill in 1998, has a 329-235 career coaching record. She has gone 170-28 with six county titles in eight years with the Hawks.

FIRST TEAM

ZHONDRIA BENN

Western

The Baltimore City Player of the Year could dominate the post like no other player. A 6-foot-2 forward who also played away from the basket and had good range on her jump shot, Benn averaged 15.2 points and 11.4 rebounds in leading the No. 5 Doves to the city championship and the state Class 3A final. In her four years, Benn scored 1,335 points and grabbed 1,325 rebounds. She signed early with Georgetown.

Mariame Djouara

St. Timothy's

A C Conference player with A Conference talent, Djouara averaged 17.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 5.3 steals and 3.8 assists in leading St. Timothy's to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference final. Lightning quick and able to out-jump 6-footers, the 5-7 senior swing player was at home in the paint or in the backcourt, and could provide just about anything St. Timothy's needed. A native of the Ivory Coast and former member of her county's elite national team, Djouara averaged 17.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 5.7 steals and 3.9 assists in two years at St. Timothy's. She is undecided about college.

Keisha Eaddy

River Hill

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