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Frederick girls heading to semis together

March 09, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

FREDERICK, Md. - The Frederick girls basketball team rounded the corner of the gym as a group.

With their pre-practice jog coming to a close, they picked up speed and called out the final seconds, " ... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1," and let out a mass giggle before heading to center court for warmups.

Head coach Todd Bono looked at his watch, looked at it again, then grinned. The jog is supposed to stop when Bono tells them his watch reads 7:00.

Without a watch, without a clock, without Bono's prompting, the girls had stopped - at exactly seven minutes.

It's been that kind of year for the Cadets, who face Western in the Class 4A semifinals at 5 Thursday at the UMBC Fieldhouse. They've known what to do at the right time virtually all season.

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The reason?

"We go out all the time," point guard Monique Bryan said. "We're real tight."

But teams are supposed to be tight. They're supposed to know each other's every move on the court. This team, though, is in sync off the court as well. There's the shower they attended - together - for Bono's December wedding. They're making plans for the team's pre-tournament trip to the Olive Garden - together.

"Other teams talk about that," forward Ashley Bush said. "They say, 'You guys are so close as a group. We aren't like that at all.'"

Maybe they should try. The Cadets (23-3, No. 1 Herald-Mail poll) have won 10 straight on the strength of their play and Bono's ability on the bench.

"You don't hear about that," guard Nichol Means said. "We couldn't play this well without coach. He has a lot to do with this."

Even though Bono can't foretell who's going to step up as well as his team predicts time, he knows someone will save the day.

"Our goals were very high this year," Bono said. "I told them at the beginning, 'We have the talent.' They know that I think very highly of them."

But the Cadets don't think many other people do. Most outsiders expect a loss in their first semifinal trip since 1991.

"They're always expected to win," junior Laura Jobe said. "It's kinda what we're used to by now."

So Frederick just keeps on marching, regardless of what everyone else thinks.

"They just have the will to win," Bono said. "Our kids are more afraid to not play well than they are of playing another team."

In fact, they're confident enough to say where their championship banner will hang in the gym, pointing at a blank spot on the wall in unison.

"They are bound and determined to get that banner up there," Bono said. "They've reminded me several times, ... They've been talking about it even more over the last two weeks."

But when it comes to talking about time ... well, the Cadets simply shrug their shoulders. Some things are just better left unsaid.

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