Glenelg senior Chrissy Starcher was glad to help out her team by playing point guard for a year, and she did the job well. But there was always a part of her that just wanted to run down the court, spot up and shoot the ball, like she had been doing since the fourth grade.
Starcher can dribble through full-court presses, and she had little trouble feeding Cheyenne Davidson and Alli Biggs in the low post. She just wasn't very happy.
"I don't like playing the point at all," said Starcher, who will move back to shooting guard this season. "I had never played it until last year since we had always had a dominant point guard. I don't mind doing it. I do it if I have to, but I was so worried about getting the ball stolen from me and stuff that I didn't have time to work on my shot and get my shot off."
Somehow, between the assists and offensive sets, Starcher found time to average 10.5 points and knock down 31 three-pointers as the Gladiators finished the season 17-6. But Starcher wasn't the only one who felt a change was needed.
"I want to be able to bring Chrissy off screens, because she can shoot, she can drive, she is a great passer," Coach Ciaran Lesikar said. "We want to give her the ball without giving up her dribble."
Senior Katie Krumpotich will take over the point guard position, but the rest of the Gladiators' lineup will stay the same. Davidson and Biggs form one of the best low-post combinations in the county, and junior Chela Hamilton will play small forward.
"I think the seniors especially have big expectations for this year," said Davidson, who was an all-county selection after averaging 11.9 points and 8.8 rebounds. "We know we can do it. We basically do have the same team as last year and we are really working hard this year because we don't want to cut anything short like last year. We know we had the people."
Before last season, Glenelg had made three straight trips to the state final, winning two state Class 1A championships (1999, 2001). Last season, the Gladiators lost to eventual state runner-up Hammond in a Class 2A West quarterfinal.
"I think the destiny is in their hands," Lesikar said. "We were only a couple points away from beating Hammond in the playoffs, which very well could have sent us to the state finals again. We had been there three years in a row and missing it by a few points, we have learned a lot and they are working so much harder. When you have six seniors it makes a huge difference."
The senior combo of Starcher, Davidson and Biggs has been stepping up, Lesikar said. The trio accounted for approximately 37 points a game last season, and each scored more than 20 points in a game at one point.
"I would see that happening again," Lesikar said. "With Chrissy being a driving threat and a three-point shooter, and Alli, who can post and drive and with her being a matchup problem, and with Cheyenne, who I still think is certainly one-on-one the best post player in the county, we should be in good shape."
Starcher should be in the best shape to improve on her numbers from last season.
"I feel like I have a lot more options," Starcher said. "I can drive more. I can shoot from the outside, or take a jump shot. If I don't have anything I know I can pass it in to Cheyenne or Alli. I just like not knowing what's going to happen on each play. I thrive on the pressure."
Boys Glenelg's boys won't have a freshman or a sophomore on varsity for the first time under sixth-year coach Jeremy Snyder, but that doesn't mean the Gladiators have a lot of experience.
Only three of Glenelg's seniors have varsity experience, and two potential contributors to the team don't have any competitive playing experience at all.
"I am simplifying everything and just saying, 'Look, if we bust it on defense and we execute on offense, we can play with teams,' " Snyder said. "If we go into the fourth quarter in games, the kids can see we can win games, but they have to get into that fourth quarter first."
Senior Devin Keeny doesn't have the big body that former all-county standout Eric Breland brought to the paint, but Snyder said he is an inside-outside threat with great touch. Junior Dallas Davidson, the brother of Cheyenne Davidson, is learning how to utilize his 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame and will start in the middle.
Senior J.J. Marchany and senior Kevin Ganascioli are Glenelg's only returning players who logged significant time last season. Marchany averaged 5.9 points, while Ganascioli -- the team's only returning starter -- averaged 3.5 points.
"We don't expect him to score big points, but we expect a lot of everything from him," Snyder said. "Being a leader and being with us for four years, he is the kid we are counting on to give us that toughness, to get up the floor, get rebounds and play tough defense."
Coach: Ciaran Lesikar (seventh season).
Last season: 17-6 overall, 13-5 county.
Last season in playoffs: Lost to Hammond in 2A West Region quarterfinals.
Average points scored last season: 63.0.
Average points allowed last season: 45.4.
Last state semifinal appearance: 2001.
Last state title: 2001.
Returning starters/letter-winners: 5/9
Key losses: None.
Key returners: C Cheyenne Davidson, Sr., 6-1; F Alli Biggs, Sr., 6-0; G Chrissy Starcher, Sr., 5-8.
Coach: Jeremy Snyder (sixth season).
Last season: 9-14 overall, 7-11 county.
Last season in playoffs: Lost to Walkersville in first round of 2A West Region playoffs.
Average points scored last season: 58.3.
Average points allowed last season: 61.4.
Last state semifinal appearance: 1973.
Last state title: None.
Returning starters/letter-winners: 1/6
Key losses: C Eric Breland, F Brian Hollrah.
Key returners: F Kevin Ganascioli, Sr., 6-2; F Devin Keeny, Sr., 6-4.
Dec. 13 vs. Hammond, 5
Dec. 16 at Howard, 5
Dec. 18 vs. Atholton, 5
Dec. 27-28 at Easton (Pa.) Tournament, TBA
Jan. 3 at Long Reach, 5
Jan. 4 at Oakland Mills, 3:30
Jan. 8 vs. Mount Hebron, 5
Jan. 145 at River Hill, 5
Jan. 17 vs. Wilde Lake, 7
Feb. 11 vs. Long Reach, 5
Feb. 13 vs. Oakland Mills, 7
Feb. 18 at Mount Hebron, 5
Feb. 24 vs. River Hill, 5
Feb. 26 at Wilde Lake, 5
Dec. 13 at Hammond, 7
Dec. 16 vs. Howard, 5
Dec. 18 at Atholton, 5
Dec. 26-27 at Glenelg Tournament, TBA
Jan. 3 vs. Long Reach, 5
Jan. 4 vs. Oakland Mills, 2:30
Jan. 8 at Mount Hebron, 5
Jan. 15 vs. River Hill, 7
Jan. 17 at Wilde Lake, 7
Jan. 24 at Centennial, 7
Jan. 29 at Hammond, 5
Jan. 31 vs. Hammond, 7
Feb. 5 at Howard, 5
Feb. 7 vs. Atholton, 7
Feb. 11 at Long Reach, 5
Feb. 13 at Oakland Mills, 7
Feb. 18 vs. Mount Hebron, 5
Feb. 24 at River Hill, 5
Feb. 26 vs. Wilde Lake, 5