If it were up to St. John's girls basketball guard Dawn Chriss, she would not be one of the team's leading scorers. But last night she had 17 points and freshman guard Chela Turner added 23 as the No. 13 Cadets won at No. 7 Sidwell Friends, 61-49, in a nonleague game.

Chriss scored six points in the final two minutes to secure the victory for St. John's (2-0), two-time defending City Title champions. She said the scoring spurt came mostly because co-head coaches Patti Langworthy and Eddie Simpson told her during every timeout to pass less and shoot more.

"I like passing the ball and getting people involved in the game," said Chriss, a 6-foot sophomore. "But the coaches want me to be a leader this year and to shoot more. I will do what they say. I guess I will have to get used to it."

One thing Sidwell (4-1) is not used to is losing at home. Last night marked the three-time defending Independent School League AA champions' first home loss in nearly three years. The Cadets led throughout, taking their largest lead at 40-27 following a three-pointer by Ashly Howley midway through the third quarter. Sidwell closed to 47-42 following a three-pointer by sophomore Jessica Holsey with 3 minutes 23 seconds remaining. But St. John's ended the game on a 14-7 run, led by Chriss (six points), Turner and junior Jocelyn Logan-Friend (three apiece).

St. John's has just one senior. Forty-six of its points last night came from freshmen and sophomores.

Sherwood Players Return

For Sherwood, a season-opening victory over Kennedy would have made sweet a 10-month recovery that three players endured after suffering serious injuries in a car accident last season. But even the 62-59 loss at Kennedy couldn't take away the emotion of the moment for the three, who took the court for the first time since the accident.

Juniors Justine Matthews, Tommie Sholtis and Jane Bartley were given a bouquet of roses as their parents, friends and teammates clapped and shed tears in a short ceremony before the game.

"It felt great to be back," said Matthews, a guard who suffered some of the worst injuries, including a broken back. "I'm just so happy to be back with my teammates. It is so important for me to be able to play basketball again."

Added Bartley, a guard who fractured a hip: "Even in the loss, we can draw strength from each other after what we've been through. This is just really special to be back with my teammates."

"They worked so hard through their recovery," Coach Janine Vernot said. "I didn't want to make a big deal out of [their return], but for our team's sake and our fans . . . I felt this was the best way to start the season off."