Look­ing for win­ning sea­sons

Grace Chris­tian boys, girls hoops off to good starts

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Through the first two weeks of the cur­rent win­ter sea­son, the Grace Chris­tian Acad­emy boys and girls bas­ket­ball teams have al­ready had their share of ups and downs, al­though their re­spec­tive coaches are opti- mistic the roller coaster ride will end on a high note.

Tues­day evening, the Grace Chris­tian boys (32, 1-0 MISAL) de­feated Lan­ham Chris­tian, 64-40, at the Trin­ity As­sem­bly of God in Lan­ham in a Met- ro In­de­pen­dent Schools Ath­letic League con­test be­hind solid ef­forts from se­niors Josh Jones, Nate Owens, Quin­ton But­ler and Rashid El­lis. It was the sec­ond straight vic- tory for the Knights, who edged Saints Peter & Paul of Tal­bot County, 5853, in their prior con­test Dec. 3 at the An­napo­lis Area Chris­tian School tour­na­ment.

“We have a solid se­nior group this year,” said Grace head boys bas­ket- ball coach and ath­letic di- rec­tor Brian Deschaine. “We also have a good group of ju­niors. I liked our de­fen­sive ef­fort in the sec­ond half. We started a lit­tle slow, but we played with a lot more de­fen­sive in­ten­sity in the sec­ond half and we at­tacked the bas­ket on of­fense.”

Grace opened the sea- son with a 71-49 loss at St. Mary’s of An­napo­lis then re­bounded to edge Grace Brethren Clin­ton of Prince Ge­orge’s Coun- ty, 68-53, be­fore be­ing trounced 84-37 by An­napo­lis Area Chris­tian. But the Knights’ two-game win streak now will get a se­ri­ous test when they head to Calvert County to play The Calver­ton School at 7 tonight, then to the Sev­ern School on Satur­day in Anne Arun­del County.

“We have a tough stretch of games com­ing up, but I like the se­nior lead­er­ship of this group,” Deschaine said. “We

have guys that can score like Josh, Rashid is an ex­cel­lent re­bounder and Nate is a pres- ence in the mid­dle and Quin- ton does a lot of things for us. I think this team is ca­pa­ble of do­ing well in our league.”

While the boys have am­ple se­niors to lean on for poise and points, the Grace girls (32,

0-0) grad­u­ated two se­nior starters and then lost a key player, Camille Robin­son, to trans­fer to nearby North Point High School. Robin­son was ex­pected to be among the Knights’ lead­ing scor­ers this sea­son, but now ju­niors Anastasia Allen, Kar­leigh Cohen and Ari­ana Sat­terth­waite and fresh­man Kate­lyn Per­rotta will share that bur­den.

“We’re ba­si­cally in a re­build­ing sea­son,” Grace girls head

coach Keith O’Kelly said. “We knew we were go­ing to grad­u­ate two starters, but I was re­ally look­ing for­ward to hav­ing Camille Robin­son back. She was go­ing to be a big im­pact player again, maybe first team all-con­fer­ence. So, with her now at North Point, we have to rely on our younger girls.”

Grace has won three straight games since open­ing the sea- son with a pair of losses at the Covenant Life In­vi­ta­tional tour-

na­ment in Mont­gomery Coun- ty on Nov. 18 and 19, which in- cluded a 40-38 set­back against Car­roll County’s Mount Airy Chris­tian in a game O’Kelly thought his girls would pre­vail. Like the boys, the Knights girls will put their cur­rent win streak on the line Fri­day when they head to Calver­ton.

“We’re young, but I’ll have all of th­ese girls back again next year,” O’Kelly said. His team’s lat­est win came Tues­day in a

68-20 vic­tory over Mont­gomery County’s Bar­rie School. “We’re re­build­ing, but the girls are play­ing well. Anastasia is a solid player in­side and Kar­leigh and Ari­ana and Kate­lynn also learn quickly and have played well. That game against Mount Airy got away from us in the last two min­utes. We should have had that one. But when you have a young team, those things hap­pen.”

PHOTO BY DAN PER­ROTTA

Grace Chris­tian Acad­emy fresh­man Kate­lyn Per­rotta at­tempts a free throw in Tues­day’s home game against Bar­rie School. The Knights are in the midst of a re­build­ing sea­son this win­ter after grad­u­at­ing two key starters and los­ing a third to trans­fer to North Point.

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