On a typical school day, Teresa Waters teaches her students the principles of accounting at Howard High School. After school, Waters travels across the county to exchange her lesson plan for a game plan. The numbers there look even better.

Her seven years as the girls basketball coach at Oakland Mills finally are reaping dividends. The Scorpions have a No. 12 ranking and a 15-1 record, 7-1 in Howard County. They defeated Howard County power Mount Hebron for only the second time in 25 meetings, 43-42; their only loss was to Glenelg, 50-49, in double overtime.

"When I started this program, it was turned upside down," Waters said. "Our immediate goal was to improve every year. The ultimate goal is to win the Maryland state Class 3A championship."

The Scorpions have shown tremendous improvement. In 1987-88, they finished 8-12; in 88-89, 10-12 and last year they had their best season, 17-4 and a berth in the 3A playoffs.

Last year Oakland Mills defeated eventual 3A champion Great Mills and runner-up Thomas Johnson during the regular season. Four starters returned this season: Mia Dammen, Stephanie Magro, Andrea Romich and Christian Copeland.

"This team has more determination than the others" she has coached, said Waters. "We try to keep our composure, be patient and hit the open man."

Dammen leads the team in scoring with 18.9 points, 10 steals and 7 rebounds per game. Magro, Romich and Copeland are also scoring in double figures. Having played together since middle school, the four have developed a special relationship.

"We are all good friends on and off the court," said Romich. "Basketball is one of two sports {along with soccer} that we play together. We get along, understand each other and play well together."

"I'm fortunate this year, I have athletes," said Waters, who has combined the talents of six seniors, two juniors, one sophomore and three freshmen. "We are pretty fast, a run-and-gun team.

"We are not really big but the advantage that I have over other schools in the county is that these players have played together at least two years. So the timing and everything else is easy to adjust to."

"We are starting to have more confidence in ourselves," said Dammen. "Before, everyone else thought other teams were so good and we were a bunch of athletes. Now, I think we are showing people that we can play. They have more respect for us and it makes it easier to play."