Never before had North Hagerstown senior Iman Scott been asked to take so much responsibility for the Hubs’ girls basketball team on her shoulders.
With experienced players Quielanna Gantt, Akatshi Osongo and Corie Anderson graduating after the 2010-11 season, Scott — a two-time Herald-Mail All-County First Team honoree as a sophomore and a junior — had to lead a mostly new group of athletes this season.
“It seemed like it was going to be a little stressful being one of only three seniors and having a young team,” Scott said. “We didn’t know if the season was going to go uphill or downhill, and the first three weeks it looked like it was going downhill. It took a lot of work.”
North Hagerstown ended December with a 3-4 record, but led by Scott, the Hubs kept improving and finished 14-10 overall and 8-6 for third place in the MVAL Antietam behind champion Catoctin and South Hagerstown.
Scott was Washington County’s leading scorer at 19.0 points per game, and its leading shot-blocker at 3.9 swats per contest. She also was one of the county’s leaders in rebounding (8.5 per game) and added 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
Scott is The Herald-Mail’s 2011-12 Washington County Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“She worked hard in practices and she knew she wanted to play beyond the high school level, so that pushed her beyond some other players,” Hubs coach Cyndi Benjamin said. “She has a great work ethic, she loves basketball, she’s passionate about it and she’s just a great kid.
“ Her and (senior) Autumn (Fisher) did a great job leading the team and I think we surprised a lot of people, having lost seven seniors last year.”
Scott was at her best on Feb. 9 against Frederick, when she scored 29 points — including the 1,000th of her varsity career — and blocked eight shots in the Hubs’ surprising 63-58 victory over the Cadets. Frederick went on to win the Maryland Class 3A West region and play in the state semifinals.
“We did as a team, and with the young kids, we did a lot better than I think any of us expected,” Scott said. “A lot of it came from just wanting to win.”
Long known for her offensive capabilities, Scott put more focus into the defensive end this season.
“Coach has always been a defensive coach. She preaches that defensive stops win games,” Scott said. “I knew I had to step up my defense. It was going to be me on every team’s best player and I had to step my game up to get the stops when my team needed it.”
“The first time I coached her, defense wasn’t her forte. She didn’t think it was all that important and I’m a very defensive coach,” Benjamin said. “We held her to our standards and her defense has improved so much. Her vertical (jump) is so high, she can stay up there for days and volleyball definitely helped her. She’s always been a very offensively focused person but this year she had to focus on defense.”
Scott is joined on The Herald-Mail’s 2011-12 All-County Girls Basketball First Team by:
Rachel Clarke, Heritage Academy
Clarke, a senior forward, led the Eagles to a 23-2 overall record — including a perfect 17-0 in Mason Dixon Christian Conference regular-season and tournament games on the way to both titles — by averaging 15.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. She’s a two-time All-County First Team honoree.
Katie Connolly, Broadfording
Connolly, a senior, averaged 18.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.9 steals, 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocks per contest. She’s a three-time All-County First Team honoree.
Katrice Dickson, South Hagerstown
Dickson, a sophomore, averaged 16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 steals, 1.8 assists and 1.0 blocks per game for the Rebels. She’s a two-time All-County First Team honoree.
Kelsey Koontz, Grace Academy
Koontz, a senior forward, averaged 17.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 1.5 assists and 1.1 blocks per game for the Knights.
Severija Narkute, St. Maria Goretti
Narkute, a sophomore guard from Lithuania, averaged 17.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 2.4 assists per game for the Gaels.
Elisa Owens, Smithsburg
Owens, a senior guard, averaged 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game for the Leopards.
Chelsey Scott, South Hagerstown
Scott, a sophomore forward, averaged 12.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game for the Rebels.
Tayana Stewart, South Hagerstown
Stewart, a sophomore guard, averaged 16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 steals, 2.0 assists and one block per game for the Rebels.
Jordan Wills, Saint James
Wills, a senior, averaged 14.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 1.3 assists per game for the Saints.
ALL-COUNTY SECOND TEAM
Lexi Andrukat Sr. G Smithsburg
Casey Arnone Sr. F Williamsport
Jess Barnhart Sr. G Clear Spring
Callie Butts Sr. G Heritage Academy
Autumn Fisher Sr. C North Hagerstown
Danielle Harbaugh Sr. C Smithsburg
Ashlyn Hawbaker Sr. G Boonsboro
Victoria Key Jr. G Williamsport
Shannon O’Brien Jr. F Boonsboro
Alexis Small Sr. C South Hagerstown
Boonsboro — Amber Smith, Stephanie Pantos, Tori Poffenberger, Morgan Tucker, Tiffany Bowman. Broadfording — Jade Boone, Aspen Flook. Clear Spring — Alexa Mills, Amber Forrest, Sam Staley. Grace Academy — Caitlin Cox, Meghan Broadwater, Allie Cox. Hancock — Alisa Shives, Sara Wagner, Tiffany Younker, Joan Leavy, Kristen Shoemaker. Heritage Academy — Jess Gaylor, Kara Stamper, Kathleen Kidd. North Hagerstown — Erika Kline, Crystal McLeod, Kayla Peterson, Samiyah Williams. Saint James — Lisle Bruns, Kerri Kline, Margaret Bacon, Lena Tilsworth. Smithsburg — Elyse Koterwas, Apryl Lee, Krystal Holl, Kinsey Shifflett. South Hagerstown — Dejaih Johnson, Lexi Shaffer. St. Maria Goretti — T.J. Tillman, Maggie Murray, Ama Mitchual, Kris Cronise, Lauree Lorensen. Williamsport — Hannah Kastelein, Courtney Malott, Erin Palmer.