Mt. Carmel basketball losing 3 star girls

Seniors led Cougars to two IAAM C finals


February 28, 2007|By Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield | Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield,Sun Reporters

The Mount Carmel basketball players shed many tears after falling in Saturday night's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference championship. Those tears weren't just about the loss, but about the end of an era.

The Cougars won the title in 2006 and returned to the final Saturday, thanks in large part to three seniors, point guard Briana Grap and the 6-foot-3 Lithuanian exchange students Ernesta Griciunaite and Sandra Liegute. All were named C Conference All-Stars.

"It's been incredible," said Grap, whose family hosts Griciunaite. "This experience has meant so much to me. It's been great winning it last year, and at least we made it [to the final] this year."

Those three scored all but two of the Cougars' points Saturday night as they fell to conference newcomer Annapolis Area Christian School, 60-45.

Center Griciunaite had 19 points and 14 rebounds. Grap and forward Liegute added 12 points each.

Coach Mike Naunton will be sorry to see his only seniors graduate.

"It's been exciting because they're such a great group of girls," Naunton said. "They're wonderful kids. We've never had a discipline problem. We've never had a grade issue. We just really picked a bad night to have a bad night.

"Sports is funny. Sometimes you have bad nights. You just try not to pick them on the championships."

The Cougars (21-5) struggled with their shots all night, missing a lot of good looks. They also went 10-for-30 from the free-throw line.

After falling behind by 19 points with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Cougars rallied as much as they could. Griciunaite and Liegute scored all the points in a 9-0 run that cut the lead to 53-43 with 2:28 left.

It was just too late to make up so much ground against a balanced Eagles squad that the Cougars had slipped past, 48-46, during the regular season.

Mat milestones

A number of milestones could be achieved this weekend at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House, site of the Class 4A-3A and 2A-1A state wrestling tournaments, including one by Hereford's Josh Asper.

The 160-pound junior is looking to win his third straight 2A-1A state title, and if he does so, he would remain on pace to join an elite club of four-time Maryland state champions.

Hammond's Vince Taweel (135), the last Maryland wrestler to defeat Asper, looks to become Maryland's third four-time public schools champion this weekend.

But if Asper is to accomplish his feat, he'll likely have to get past Southern of Garrett County's Justin Ratliff, a titlist at 152 pounds last year.

In the chase for the 2A-1A team title, Asper leads the No. 6 Bulls in a race that includes No. 5 Glenelg, No. 8 Milford Mill and No. 7 Owings Mills.

Those teams appear to have the best chance at defeating favored Rising Sun of Cecil County, which won the state duals crown earlier this month.

Owings Mills is seeking its eighth tournament title to go with its three state dual-meet crowns.

State runner-up Tony Mack (145) looks to become the 24th individual state champion for Eagles coach Guy Pritzker. Old Mill, with 28, is the only school in the state to produce more individual state champions.

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