Gaithersburg, Frederick, Calvert bask in their first state titles

Gaithersburg Coach Adrian Mc Daniel celebrated with his team after beating Wise for the Maryland 4A championship title at RAC Arena on the UMBC campus on March 11, 2011 in Catonsville, Md.
Gaithersburg Coach Adrian Mc Daniel celebrated with his team after beating Wise for the Maryland 4A championship title at RAC Arena on the UMBC campus on March 11, 2011 in Catonsville, Md. (Washington Post)

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 15, 2011; 2:11 PM

No basketball team in the Washington area - boys' or girls' - put forth a more dominant performance than Gaithersburg's girls, who won the school's first championship with a 58-38 victory over Wise on Saturday.

The Trojans (25-0) were the only area girls' team to complete an undefeated season, and they did so convincingly, winning each of their games by double-figure margins. Moreover, they did it without one lead player; four Trojans, seniors Kara Marshall and Sarah Seipp and juniors Colleen Marshall and Jackie Jackson, each averaged between 11 and 15 points per game, with any one capable of taking control.

But what ended up earning the Trojans the title against Wise was their defense. It was the linchpin for their success throughout the season because their harassing pressure would inevitably crack their opponents for a stretch that would result in a Gaithersburg run.

Against Wise, that run began with a jumper by Deja Rollins at the end of the third quarter that extended the Trojans' lead to 38-30. It ended 4 ?? minutes later on a Rollins three-pointer that made it 51-32.

In between, the Trojans forced the Pumas into long jumpers, rushed shots and typically only one chance each trip downcourt.

"All year long, we knew our defense would win us ball games," Gaithersburg Coach Adrian McDaniel said. "If we play defense, it would turn into offense."

Frederick's guarded approach

One by one, they came together, and when the team was complete, Frederick's girls' basketball program had executed a most startling turnaround to capture its first state championship Saturday, 76-71, over Aberdeen.

Six years ago, when Keivette Hammond took over the program, the Cadets had won just one game. It had been five years since Frederick had won a region title, and, in the interim, county foes Walkersville, Middletown and Catoctin had won state championships, while Thomas Johnson, Linganore and Urbana had all won region crowns. During Hammond's first five years, the Cadets were a combined 40-67.

"You have to understand where Frederick basketball was in our county," Frederick Coach Keivette Hammond. "We really weren't considered to be anything."

Guard Rachel Johnson, however, was undeterred when she arrived at Frederick as a freshman in 2007. The following year, sophomore point guard Lynasia Frazier transferred from Tuscarora. Then, guards Jazmin and Lauren Tolson left Montrose Christian and returned to their neighborhood school in 2009-10.

They couldn't get a full taste of their potential, however, when Frazier suffered a season-ending knee injury, derailing any hopes of a strong playoff run.

So when they all returned this season, the Cadets knew they had the foundation and familiarity for a breakthrough season. It turned out, the guard-oriented lineup was perfectly suited to give Aberdeen fits.


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