Since returning to the lineup after a stress fracture in her right foot, Episcopal senior guard Jaime Doerr has had a healing effect on her team. Doerr's first game back was Feb. 4 against Maderia, which Episcopal won, 45-32. Since then, the Maroon has won four of five games entering the Independent School League AA tournament, which is scheduled to begin on Friday.
"It's real nice to have her back," Episcopal Coach Courtney Banghart said. "She gives us that leadership which is as important as her scoring and rebounding."
With Doerr (16 ppg in seven games) in and out of the lineup, Episcopal (12-8, 6-8 ISL AA) has proven itself worthy in its tough division. Last season, the Maroon went 20-5 and won the ISL A, and moved up in divisions this season. But the team has not suffered in the more competitive bracket, and has the fifth seed in the upcoming tournament.
"There are still a couple of untouchable teams, like Bullis and [Georgetown] Visitation that are better than us," Banghart said. "We're hanging in there by playing good defense. But this has been a wonderful experience for the seniors. We went 20-5 last year, and those seven seniors have done a lot for the program."
Though Episcopal's senior class has established the program in its new division, a freshman has emerged to help fill the void after graduation. Center Frances deSaussure is the team's second-leading scorer (10.5 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding (seven per game).
"She's young and she's got a lot to learn, but she has a real good game," Banghart said. "She is a freshman and she only knows full speed."
The team has also proved its mettle in two recent double-overtime games. Episcopal defeated St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, 58-49, on Jan. 16, and then edged Holton-Arms, 70-68, last Tuesday.
"We needed to win those games," Banghart said. "But that just shows that we believe we can win any game."
-- Colin Fitzgibbons