City girls see losses in tourney as lessons

After 10-12 season, Knights off to 8-4 start with just one senior


January 17, 2007|By Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield | Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield,Sun Reporters

Losing twice at last week's Basketball Academy taught City's girls basketball team as much about how far it has come as how far it has to go.

A year ago, the Knights struggled through a 10-12 season, including an 81-18 loss to Western in the Baltimore City championship. That was quite a drop-off from the 22-3 team two years ago that won the city title and reached the Class 2A state title game.

This team is off to an 8-4 start, thanks to an influx of young players, including multitalented freshman guard LaShay Taft and sophomore point guard Breaira Barksdale, a transfer from Eastern Tech.

City also has a promising post game, thanks to 6-foot sophomore Victoria Mitchell and 5-foot-11 freshman Kayla Dillard.

The Knights already have one upset to their credit - a 64-55 victory over then-No. 11 Southside before Christmas. At last week's Basketball Academy at Morgan State, they came close twice, falling to then-No. 7 New Town, 41-38, and Riverdale Baptist, 38-35.

In both cases, the Knights fell behind early and couldn't quite catch up.

"Experience - that's the whole thing," City coach George Petrides said. "It's knowing when not to panic and not to rush. It's about taking your time and knowing you've got plenty of time."

The lone senior on the team, Kia Baker, said the young players have brought a lot of heart and dedication, in addition to their talent.

Baker said the tough competition at the Basketball Academy was well worth the challenge.

"We just learned," she said. "It's a learning experience. We take this and go on and use it for states. We're coming real close. We've just got to finish it."

Bullish performance

Jeremy Keil (135 pounds) and two-time 2A-1A state champion Josh Asper (160) won titles, and Anthony Schabdach (215) was runner-up to lead the No. 6 Hereford Bulls to the crown in last weekend's 16-team Franklin tournament. The event also included Glenelg, Owings Mills, North Carroll and Winters Mill - teams formerly ranked Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9 in The Sun.

Asper's 13-4 championship rout of Winters Mill's Dave Menasche was career win No. 95 and his 31st consecutive victory dating to an 8-7 loss to three-time 2A-1A state champ Vince Taweel of Hammond last February.

Hereford's Zach First (125) finished third, with Eric Hemmeter (171) and Louis Stiffler (285) placing fourth. Owings Mills crowned unbeaten 2A-1A state runner-up Tony Mack (145), and Western Tech's Kameron Washington (285) upset then-No. 3 Thomas Mulligan (12-2). Mulligan's only previous loss was by 2-1 to Old Mill's top-ranked Justin Faithful, a fourth-place finisher at 4A-3A states who has 19 pins.

Avi Friedman (103) and Cody Rosen-Stone (125) were runners-up, and Mitch Barker (140), Gary Saval (160) and Irwin Coleman (171) were third for Owings Mills, which finished fourth.

The Castillo brothers, Josh (215) and Jason (152), were third and fourth, respectively, for Kenwood. Eastern Tech's Ryan Andrzejewski (189) and Sparrows Point's Jesse Heddinger (215) also were fourth.

At the Edgewood tournament, Carver's Daniel Johnson (152) was a runner-up to Atholton's Ryan Conroy.

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