Cadets find friends in 'knee'd'-basketball notebook

February 01, 2002

Cadets find friends in 'knee'd'-basketball notebook

Frederick girls coach Todd Bono should add an item to the uniform handout at the start of each season.

Shoes, check. Road uniform, check. Home uniform, check. Brace for bum knee, check.

Every team has injuries, it's just part of the process. But no team has been hit by knee injuries like the Cadets in Bono's four years at the helm.

"Any time one of our players goes down, I just keep thinking, 'Please, not another knee,'" Bono said.

The injured list is almost as deep as the Cadets' bench: Two-time All-Area Ashley Bush, Melanie Muscar (twice), Nichol Means, Monique Bryan. All of them missed part or all of a season because of knee problems.

Point guard Kristal Hood almost got added to that list this year, but her recovery from a summer knee injury is just short of remarkable. Now she leads the Tri-State in steals and has scored 20-plus points in six straight games for the No. 1 Cadets.


"It's always on your mind," Hood said. "But you can't worry about it. You don't think about it on the court."

She's constantly hitting the floor from hard fouls on breakaway layups or going for steals, but her injury doesn't cross her mind. It hits her coach hard, though.

"She's bounced back so well and I think she's ahead of schedule," Bono said. "But you cringe every time she goes down."

Doing a little of everything

The number stood out from all other numbers, even without the bold print: "Antoine McGee had 21 assists as Mercersburg Academy defeated The Peddie School."

Now, the two-time All-Area guard certainly is capable of putting up crazy numbers, but 21 assists? On 25 baskets? It wasn't a typo.

"We were running a lot more, pressuring more," Mercersburg coach Mark Cubit said. "We had the athletic advantage and he was just pitching for layups most of the night. Everyone else was getting scores off dishes from here."

As the only starter back from last season's No. 1 team in The Herald-Mail poll, McGee took on all the pressure for the Blue Storm, not only as its point guard, but the leading scorer as well.

And even though Mercersburg is 6-8 against a killer schedule, he's carrying the weight quite well before heading to the University of Colorado this fall to rejoin former Mercersburg star Stephane Pelle.

"He's doing more because we trust him to do more," Cubit said. "And he has the ability to do that. It's just a natural evolution of his game, not that there's something deficient on the team.

"He's had to take the lead, but we've got balanced scoring. He's going to lead us, but he's getting everyone involved."

Down the stretch they come ...

If the South boys win the Monocacy Valley Athletic League title, it will be because of what they do in the next eight days.

With their undefeated record still intact, the No. 4 Rebels travel tonight to No. 10 Brunswick, a place they have had little success over the years. Last season, they took their first conference loss there and coach Bob Starkey was ejected in the process.

If South wins tonight, they can virtually wrap up the title in back-to-back home games. No. 9 Middletown visits on Tuesday before next Friday's second leg of the City Series against No. 5 North.

... and them, too ...

The No. 3 Walkersville girls have preached about destiny being in their hands after their only MVAL loss at Catoctin on Jan. 9.

Tuesday night, they can take destiny out of everyone's hands but the mathematician's with a win at No. 4 Smithsburg. A victory by the Lions would leave them two games ahead of the Leopards and No. 6 Middletown in the loss column with two games to play.

... and them, too.

The James Buchanan girls have lived on the edge all season in the race for a playoff spot in the rugged District 3 Class AAA tournament. In the next two days, the Rockets can either put themselves over the top or push themselves off the mountain.

No. 7 JB plays Boiling Springs and Kennard-Dale in back-to-back games starting tonight in Mercersburg. Boiling is currently ranked No. 3 in Class AA, while Kennard-Dale is No. 2 in Class AAA. A pair of wins - or even a split - could push the Rockets into the playoffs with eight days left in qualifying. They currently stand 17th for a 16-team field.

"Boiling Springs, we had a tough loss down there to them (on Dec. 21)," JB coach Megan Swailes said. "And Kennard-Dale, we could face them in the first round of the playoffs if we get in."

"It's two tough games and the girls will really have to be up. We'll buckle down and do the best we can."

Mason-Dixon all set

The 2nd Mason-Dixon Shootout at Chambersburg High School is a little smaller than the original version, but the matchups more than make up for it.

The rescheduled event is set for Wednesday and opens with Chambersburg's JV playing Martinsburg's JV at 5. St. Maria Goretti and Scotland (Pa.) are scheduled for 6:15, with the marquee matchup of Chambersburg vs. Martinsburg tentatively set for 7:30.

The Mason-Dixon originally was slated for Jan. 19, but that day's snowstorm postponed the event.

Finding his niche

If Greencastle's Brad Fitz could only play James Buchanan in every game.

In the teams' first meeting on Dec. 18, the senior center went off for 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks in a 56-43 win. In Tuesday night's 66-53 victory over the Rockets, Fitz finished off his first career triple-double with 14 points, 20 rebounds and an eye-popping 14 blocked shots.

This week's notebook was compiled by staff writer Dan Spears. He can be reached at or by phone at (301) 733-5131, ext. 2334.

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