Severn junior Leanne Hug's talent and leadership are two of the main reasons why the No. 14 Severn basketball team is undefeated in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference and 17-3 overall.
A 6-foot forward and team captain, Hug averages nearly 10 points and seven rebounds per game for the Admirals.
Hug, who takes six classes, five of them honors courses, has a 3.7 grade point average, belongs to several clubs, is on the prom committee, plays the piano and plays basketball year-round.
She is undecided on which college she will attend and isn't sure if she will pursue collegiate basketball. Hug, an Arnold resident, plans to study business and marketing in college.
Can you tell us about the Schools for Schools club in which you are active?
It's a project where we help raise money to build schools in Uganda for the war that is occurring in Sudan and for the refugees fleeing to Uganda. We throw fundraisers, sponsor events in our school. All 100 percent of the money we raise goes straight to the fund.
When did you start playing basketball and how?
I started basketball in second or third grade. My neighbor, Gina Flood, had played women's basketball at Notre Dame [in South Bend, Ind.], and she got the neighborhood girls together and was our coach. She was the starting point guard on Notre Dame's first women's team. Being the tall one, I was the center, and I fell in love with the game. Been playing ever since.
What are your thoughts on your team this year?
We've been playing amazing, been playing great. It could not have been going any better. We've definitely had some key wins, so we couldn't be happier right now. Our coaches, Mr. Miller is a great guy, great coach, and his assistant coach, Lisa Smith, are great. They work us hard, push us and not only just the game but in our lives - helping us in school and other problems. They're great mentors.
What's been the biggest win?
Beating Old Mill [48-44] was a great win. Not only did we play great, but we knocked off one of the top teams in the county. It gave us a lot of recognition, which we deserved.
How is playing in the IAAM B Conference?
I think as a whole the league has been in a rebuilding year because a lot of teams lost players to graduation. We were fortunate and only lost two seniors, but so far it has been pretty competitive, almost like last year.
How well does your team get along?
This season has been really fun for us. We're not only really good friends on the team but also best friends off the court. It's fun to hang out when we are not playing and do things other girls do every day. A lot of my best friends are on the team, and generally most of my friends play sports.
Do you enjoy being a team captain?
Yes. It's not only being captain on the court but off the court as well. We have to keep the girls' heads up and keep them mentally ready, not just physically. All of my teammates know what they are doing. Just being there for them to talk to, like the younger girls we try to mentor. One of the reasons we have been so successful is that we haven't had any serious issues.
What is the team goal?
Our goal is to win the championship, and we're on the road to winning that right now. We have to keep playing well. That's the goal, to get to the championship game like we have the past four years and win it.
What do you like to do when not playing basketball?
A couple of the girls on the basketball team, like Taylor Wieczorek, the other team captain, are hosting a charity project later this month and April. It's called Gowns for Giving, where we collect gowns, cocktail dresses, prom dresses, all sorts of evening gowns. We're going to hold a luncheon where we will sell the dresses, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to charities around the area like Span and the Lighthouse Shelter, as well as the Schools for Schools charity I mentioned earlier.
Do you have any favorite TV shows?
I love America's Next Top Model and just reality shows.
Your parents, Don and Debbie, graduated from the University of Maryland. Do you have an idea where you may attend college?
I've been looking around. The decision for me is whether I want to play basketball in college or not. Right now, I'm keeping all of my options open and looking at schools for both academics and basketball.
Are you a Terps fan?
Oh, yes. I grew up watching Maryland athletics - loved the energy and heart of Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter. And I love the women's team with [Laura] Harper ... the energy they play with is inspiring. I try to play with the energy and passion they play with.