LEAPING FROGS: After several close losses left Maret with a 5-4 record and some doubts, Coach Butch McAdam reminded his young team there was no pressure to win, just to play hard. The Fighting Frogs regrouped to win five straight, including wins over Wilson (49-43) and Sidwell Friends (55-45) last week.

"The guys have started to develop that confidence and belief they can compete with these teams," McAdam said. "We only have one player {Cornell Parker} who has any real varsity experience. We start two sophomores, a junior and a combination of other players up from last year's jayvee. But they are doing a good job with our Princeton-like passing offense and getting better."YOU'VE GOT TO BELIEVE: When Phelps scored 100 points in a nine-point win over H.D. Woodson last week, it was the first time since 1952 and the days of Elgin Baylor the school reached the century mark.

The Panthers (7-8), who were 0-22 in their first varsity season after an eight-year hiatus, have grasped first-year head coach Richard Jackson's BAHS (Believe, Attitude, Heart, Skill) theory and taken first place in the Interhigh's East Division with a 3-0 record. Roger Bell, Omar Saleem -- who sank the winning basket at the buzzer to beat Anacostia -- and Alphonso Hewitt have been the catalysts.

"I know people thought I was crazy when I said we could win but I built a great band at Spingarn {last year} so I'm used to some success," aid Jackson, who coached the junior varsity last season. "These kids were not used to winning. . . . You have to believe in yourself."

The team jogs 1 1/2 miles from Phelps (gymnasium under repair) to Hamilton Jr. High for practice.

"They get there on time. If not, we jog some more before practice," said Jackson, who drives to practice. "I don't know if we will win another game, but the confidence level is up and the kids believe in themselves. That's all I could hope for." PRINCE GEORGE'S PARITY: Despite third-ranked High Point's run of 28 consecutive Prince George's 4A league wins, including a 10-0 mark this year, the race for the league title promises to be an interesting one. Nipping at the heels of the high-scoring Eagles are Northwestern (8-2 in the league), Crossland (8-2) and Largo (7-3). High Point has not been as dominating as in the past two seasons but has gotten past all challengers.

"This league is well balanced and any team can give you a fit," said Largo Coach Lou Wilson, whose team edged Bowie (95-92) and Crossland (83-81) and lost to High Point (104-100). COACH SITS OUT ONE: Springbrook, the most successful team in Montgomery County the last five seasons under John Barrett, won without him Saturday. The longtime coach was a "little sick" and stayed home to await the word of his team's 71-65 victory over Seneca Valley -- improving to 10-5 overall and 4-1 in Division I play, a game behind unbeaten Blair.

Barrett said he will be back on the bench for Tuesday's game against Gaithersburg. BEALE HITS 1,500: Gar-Field's two-time All-Met Charleata Beale scored 25 points against James Wood on Friday and has 1,523 in her career. The Indians have won 80 of their last 93 games.