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Cadets are all business for 4A semis

March 09, 2000|By DAN SPEARS

FREDERICK, Md. - During last year's trip to the Class 4A semifinals, the Frederick girls basketball team took its big suitcase with it - plenty of room for cameras and souvenirs and other things to take home.

Today, the Cadets will be hauling the economy-size luggage to their 3 p.m. matchup with Arundel at the UMBC Fieldhouse, because this is just a business trip.

"We're not going just for fun this time," said sophomore guard Kristal Hood said.

"We're going to win," senior forward Laura Jobe said. "Last year there was a lot of hype ... this time, the confidence to win the games is there."

Frederick (18-7) didn't have that confidence two months ago. Mired at 3-7 and 1-3 in the Central Maryland Conference and without its star, junior Ashley Bush out with a season-ending knee injury, the team decided that enough was enough.

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"They got together and decided ... to get back to the things that made them successful," coach Todd Bono said. "I'm just happy that they proved it to themselves and everybody. And they proved it to me."

Fifteen games without a loss later, the Cadets are right back where they thought they should be.

"Last year, there was this chemistry," senior forward Dara Hueting said. "This year, it just took a while to find that chemistry."

Hueting, Jobe and the team's other four seniors have this winning thing down to a science now.

"They've all been to this point, and that will be a plus," junior Nichol Means said. "They've stepped up immensely so far and they'll keep stepping up."

As much as the team's seniors have stepped up - center Katie Brennan came up with a career-high 31 points in the West final - it's the team's younger players that are making the surprise contributions. Sophomores Chelsea Reidy, Jennifer Andrews, Maria Brown and Hood all play big parts in the team's success.

"They've really stepped up, and they're great role players," Bono said. "Last year was just a six- or seven-player rotation. This time, it's nine or 10, and we've got to get them all in the game."

Frederick's style of play allows that. Their full-court pressure and half-court trap push the tempo to breakneck speed, and Bono's continued use of the bench has been huge in the last two playoff wins. The team forced an astounding 43 turnovers against Springbrook in the region semis, then got 19 more against Churchill in the region final.

"We'll keep playing our game," Brennan said. "That's what got us here."

The Cadets will face Arundel, the same team that beat them 55-50 in overtime during the Anne Arundel Christmas Tournament. In the 5 p.m. semifinal, Oxon Hill faces Western, which eliminated the Cadets 47-42 in last year's semis. Revenge, however, isn't part of this business agenda.

"There's no difference at all," Hueting said. "It's still just a basketball game, right?"

"Besides," Bush said. "We don't have a (championship) banner on the wall yet. We want one of those."

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