Severn's girls basketball team has won 14 straight games, and that makes coach Chuck Miller especially wary of Friday night's opponent, Notre Dame Prep.
"They beat us up at their place last year and broke our winning streak, so for us it's huge. And the pressure is mounting since we've won 14 in a row," said Miller, whose 13th-ranked team is 14-1 and in first place in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference Y Division at 9-0.
Notre Dame Prep rules in the B Conference X Division at 8-1. The Blazers, 12-2 overall, have a two-game lead over Mount de Sales while Severn has a two-game edge on St. Vincent Pallotti in its division.
"It's kind of big to keep that lead, that little buffer zone, at this point in the season," NDP coach Katie Marks said.
Friday's game, at 5:30 p.m. at Severn, will feature an Admirals team that scores 59.4 points a game against an NDP defense that gives up just 32.9 points per game and has allowed only two foes to reach 40.
"The key for us is getting the ball upcourt and getting into our offense," Miller said. "Last year, they were very aggressive, especially from half court, and they really kept us out of our offensive sets."
The Admirals have no players over 5 feet 8, but they have five averaging about 10 points, including guard Aura Payne with 8.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. She, Raven Owens, Leah Cranmer, Liz Harbeson or Alexa Kunowsky could have a big game anytime.
The Blazers have a similarly well-rounded group paced by freshman point guard Sydney Tommins, who averages 10 points and three assists. Meghan Helm, Rachel Quinn and Katie McKenna also average about 10 points.
Winning this game, which could be a preview of the B Conference final, would provide quite a boost.
"I think it would be huge for the kids' confidence," Marks said. "This is obviously going to be the best team we've played, so it is going to be a good measuring stick for us."
- Katherine Dunn