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Washington County girls hoops preview

Hubs have talent to compete in 2A West

Hubs have talent to compete in 2A West

December 03, 2008|By Dan Kauffman

The Maryland Class 2A West region is loaded with talented girls basketball teams - including MVAL Piedmont schools Middletown and Walkersville, as well as Century and Winters Mill.

It's a challenge North Hagerstown should be ready for.

With two Herald-Mail All-Area First Team performers - guard Kirksten Mitchell and center Larae Allen - returning for their senior seasons, the Hubs should contend for the Piedmont and 2A West titles and a trip to the state tournament.

"We made the regional final two years ago," North coach Barry Brown said. "We're going to face some real tough competition. Our region is a pretty tough region. But we're looking forward to the challenge."

In addition to Mitchell and Allen, senior guard Kishia Jackson, a Herald-Mail All-County Second Team honoree last season, also returns, along with senior guard Christen Brown and senior forward Beth Burdick.

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"We have a great group of kids to work with, some super people," Brown said. "They work hard and they listen, and that's what I appreciate more than anything. They try to do everything they're taught."

While the Hubs hope to do damage in Class 2A, Boonsboro may be the Washington County team to beat in Class 1A and the MVAL Antietam.

The Warriors have nine players back from last season, including All-Area First Team center Brynn Arnone, All-County Second Team guard Emma Dalton and All-MVAL Antietam second-team guard Katie Marshall.

"We're going to be able to go 10-deep, maybe more," Warriors coach Max Shaffer said. "I think they can do what they put their minds to. It's their team, what do they want to accomplish? It's about what they set their minds to and how hard they work in practice. I'm sure they want to win the Antietam again, that's one of their goals."

Shaffer is trying to keep the focus on the here and now.

"I told them we're going to take one game at a time and go from there," he said. "I don't want to think about a state tournament appearance until we get there. I don't want to put a lot of pressure on them. I want them to play and have fun."

Boonsboro

Arnone averaged 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game last season, and Shaffer believes she can be even better this season.

"Her work ethic is a lot better this year," Shaffer said. "She's taking it serious and she'd like to play in college. She's more focused. She handles the ball like a guard. She's been doing some neat stuff."

In addition to Arnone, Dalton and Marshall, the Warriors welcome back guards Ashley Sullivan, Kristin Byers, Cortney Silvis and Ashley Smothers, and forwards Breanne Lohman and Alison Griffith.

"We've got weapons all around," Shaffer said. "Ashley (Sullivan) can really play and I don't think people realize what she can play like. She gives us another dimension. She has nice mid-range shot, she's strong underneath and she'll take lot of pressure off Brynn around the basket."

Clear Spring

First-year coach Adam Hoopengardner has seven players back from last year's squad to work with, including All-County Second Team forward Andrea Baum (9.8 points per game last season).

"She has taken the leadership role and has pushed the other players in practice," Hoopengardner said. "We've got a bunch of energetic girls willing to learn."

Hoopengardner expects big things from senior point guard Lindsay Trumpower, and believes freshman guard Jessica Barnhart could make an impact with her shooting touch.

Grace Academy

The Knights have six returning players, and they're all sophomores, led by point guard Victoria Aikens.

"She's played for quite a few years and she's a pretty good ballplayer," first-year coach Leland Zlomke said. "From a scoring standpoint, it will be her. She handles the ball well, she's our point and she's a good shooter."

Two more sophomore guards - Victoria Broadwater, who's a tough defender, and Katy Carroll -will play key roles for the Knights.

Hancock

Panthers coach Rocky Wills will lean on his daughter Shawnda, a junior forward who earned All-County Second Team honors last season after averaging 7.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

"She's probably our best inside player. We'll need the players on the perimeter to knock down some shots and open it up for her," Rocky Wills said. "She'll be doing a bit of everything for us."

Hancock has six other players back, including three seniors - guards Hayley Ruppenthal and Beth Bowman, and forward Karley Logsdon. Sophomore center Maureen Leavy could make an immediate impact.

Heritage Academy

The small Mason Dixon Christian Conference school boasts one of the area's premier talents in senior guard Morgan McIntire, a two-time All-Area First Team member. McIntire averaged 23.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 2.6 assists for the Eagles last season.

"I really think she's going to have a great year," Heritage coach Ed Dorsey said. "She's got a good supporting cast around her, a good mix of players, so I'm excited."

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