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Gantt traveling path to milestone moment

February 18, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

It's been a slow yet steady rise to prominence for North Hagerstown senior Quielan Gantt since he first earned his varsity jersey as a sophomore. As his final prep season winds down, he's closing in on the 1,000-point milestone he's chipped away at for three seasons.

Gantt, who leads North with a 20.7 scoring average, sits at 965 career points with two regular season games left, both at home - tonight's battle against Smithsburg and Wednesday night's city showdown against rival South Hagerstown.

As a sophomore and junior playing alongside Bernard Harris and Marshall Branch, Gantt's primary role was as a perimeter shooter. With Harris and Branch now freshmen at Hagerstown Community College, Gantt has assumed the lead role and expanded his game, making more forays inside for rebounds (6.9 per game) and easy buckets and showing a post-up game to go with his jump-shooting know-how.

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"He's always been a good scorer," Hubs coach Tim McNamee said. "I think (the growth of his game) comes with maturity and recognizing what the defense gives you. He's not one-dimensional anymore, but he still has his 3-point stroke. He gets some garbage baskets off rebounds and we've even posted him up some. He has more ways to score than just outside.

"I just think he's become more of a complete player this year, particularly as the year has gone on. That makes a big difference on our team."

The supporting role Gantt vacated now belongs primarily to sophomore Dee Mency - a versatile shooting guard whose 16.7 points per game have helped take some of the scoring pressure off Gantt. Center Tyrell Wilson (10.4 points per game) and point guard Jarell Rodriguez (9.8) also share a large part of the load.

"The thing (Gantt) has going in his favor is we have some other weapons as well, and that always helps," McNamee said.

No place like home


About four years ago when his daughter Kimberly started showing an interest in basketball, it started a chain of events Phil Passarelli probably could not have envisioned.

To give his daughter the opportunity to enjoy her hobby, Passarelli started a clinic for home-schooled girls. The number of participants grew to the point where last year, with support from financial sponsors and help from other area Christian schools willing to play, Passarelli formed the Frederick Home School team.

"Last year was our first year, and I really took it one step at a time," Passarelli said. "(We had to) have enough girls to have a team, get enough sponsors to fund a team and find other Christian schools to play us. Last year all those doors were opened.

"It is remarkable. It's through prayer and a lot of going before the Lord. We went to him and said, 'Lord, if you want us to move in this direction, you will open the doors.' We feel God has allowed for these girls to be able to play competitively against other schools, which is a real blessing for them."

Frederick Home School - which has one junior, one sophomore, six freshmen, one eighth-grader and one seventh-grader on its roster - played a mixed schedule consisting of middle school, high school JV and varsity teams last year. The Warriors finished that season with a junior high division tournament title at the 2004 Virginia home school championships.

FHS is 6-5 this year against varsity competition, with Kimberly Passarelli averaging 18.5 points per game. Not bad for a squad which practices just once a week.

"Before my daughter was interested, I knew very little about basketball," Phil Passarelli said. "Obviously I'm learning as we're going. Because of limited practice time, we're very limited in terms of what we can try to accomplish. I have to realize I can't put them on the same page with teams that practice two hours every day. But they've caught on well. I think many of them are very gifted in athletics and just have a passion to do their best. No matter what score is, they give it their all."

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