With McKenzie, talented mates, Scorpions on roll

Notebook

December 19, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,Sun reporter

The Oakland Mills girls basketball team took a 5-0 mark into this week's play, thanks largely to the all-around play of senior guard Miriam McKenzie.

Another big reason is her talented supporting cast.

Scorpions coach Seth Willingham said the biggest surprise has been the consistent play of sophomore point guard Nicole Hill, who added confidence to her game this season and is averaging 12.2 points. Senior small forward Gabby Barnes is averaging nine points and sophomore forward-center Monet Nias is averaging six points and seven rebounds. All three are returning starters with McKenzie, who averages 27.8 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

"I honestly think some of the other girls have stepped up as scorers, and that's opened things up even more for Miriam. We have four or five players capable of scoring in double digits each time out," Willingham said.

As for McKenzie, a second-team All-Metro selection last season, she has already produced a triple double with a 24-point, 14-rebound, 10-assist effort against Long Reach, and a 38-point, 18-rebound performance against Reservoir last week. On Friday, she closed out the week with 25 points in a 55-31 victory over Marriotts Ridge.

"Like I've said since her freshman year, Miriam is a very multidimensional player," Willingham said. "She gets to the basket, can shoot, rebounds great for a guard and she can also pass the ball. She just does so many different things on the court for us."

Mustangs make mark

Marriotts Ridge wrestling coach Jason Conley describes his Mustangs as a blue-collar team.

The roster has only a couple of wrestlers with junior league experience, as the majority of the wrestlers started the sport when the varsity program was established about three years ago. Conley, a former Marine, said the practices are filled with hard work and plenty of repetition of the basics.

It's working. After Thursday's 54-24 triumph over Eleanor Roosevelt of Prince George's County, the Mustangs, who did not have a graduating class last year and have all but one starter back, improved to 9-0, with contributions coming from top to bottom.

Chris Trainer (135 pounds) and Evan Peck (103) both took 9-0 records into this week, and Jae Kim (215) and Ben Goodwin (140) were 8-1. In their second season of varsity last year, the Mustangs went 21-13 in dual meets and 9-5 in county action.

"With just about all of us back, I think we've really bonded and stuck together," Goodwin said. "We were able to keep rolling through some of the tough times, and so far this year, it's been really good. We're just real tight. We stick together and like to push each other because we know it makes us better."

In other wrestling news, Howard 125-pound senior Tyler Bulger (10-0) went 8-0 with four pins at Saturday's Lion Duals at Howard, earning his 100th career victory and being named the tournament's Outstanding Lightweight. Bulger, a county champ last year and three-time state qualifier, is 102-38 with 42 pins in his four seasons.

Waldron commits

Howard senior Tori Waldron has made an oral commitment to play soccer at Wingate University. Waldron, a defender, played four years on varsity and was a captain the past two seasons for the Lions.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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