Harford Christian girls show strength

Despite loss of center, Eagles hold 2nd place


February 11, 2007|By BILL FREE | BILL FREE,Sun Reporter

The Harford Christian girls basketball team has had a successful season, going 10-3 and sitting in second place in the Maryland Association of Christian Schools league.

The only problem is that the Carroll Christian squad from Westminster is charging through the league with a 13-0 record to overshadow Harford Christian's performance.

"Carroll Christian goes six-deep on the front line," said Harford Christian coach Brian Akers, who is in his 14th season. "We can't match that size. Their inside people average 4 to 5 inches taller than our front line. We tried to challenge them inside the last time we played, and it got kind of ugly and we lost by 20 points."

Keeping up with Carroll Christian became even tougher after Harford Christian lost its starting center, junior Megan Pilar, when she suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in November. Pilar was the team's leading scorer (13.1 points a game) and rebounder (9.0 average) last season.

Still, the Eagles (15-6 overall) have been tough behind the all-around play of 5-foot-7 senior guard Jessica Schisler, who leads the team in scoring (13.2 average) in addition to averaging 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 steals and two assists.

"She's the best player on the court for us," Akers said. "She's our go-to player on offense, and she does a real good job on defense."

Schisler gets help from senior point guard and team captain Emily Ledford, who draws praise from Akers for her "wonderful attitude" and for being a leader on and off the court. Ledford averages 5.3 points, 3.8 steals and 2.5 assists.

A third starting senior is 5-11 center Arielle Orem, the tallest player on the team, who has filled in admirably for Pilar. Orem was Pilar's backup last season. Orem averages 5.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.

The other two starters are sophomore forward Malia Chapman and freshman guard Courtney Grant.

"What we do well is a pressing defense and then transition offense from there," Akers said.

The top players coming off the bench are sophomore backup guards Katie Bombeck and Erica Comer and senior forwards Amanda Petty and Jen Shellen.

Harford Tech boosted

Chris Johnson has lived up to his reputation as a second-team All-Harford County basketball selection last season since his return three games ago to the Harford Tech basketball team (7-11).

Johnson, a senior, missed the first half of the season with a knee injury suffered during the football season. Since coming back, Johnson is averaging 10 rebounds a game and eight points. He averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds last season.

Johnson and teammate Malik Mack combined for 28 points and 24 rebounds Feb. 2 in a 74-42 victory over Cecil County's Bohemia Manor.

Junior guard Devin Ewing is also playing well, averaging 14 points, five steals and four assists.


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