Tracey Car­ring­ton was also spe­cial off the bas­ket­ball court

The Dundalk Eagle - - SPORTS AND RECREATION - By Bill Gates

Hav­ing never seen LaRhonda Gar­rett play, I can’t say for sure Tracey Car­ring­ton is the best girls bas­ket­ball player in Dun­dalk High his­tory. But she’s def­i­nitely one of the top two to have ever played at Dun­dalk.

But that’s not why Tracey’s death last week re­ally, re­ally hurts.

Tracey wasn’t just a great bas­ket­ball player. She was an awe­some young woman: smart, funny, tal­ented.

Yeah, she had some­thing of a tem­per on the court dur­ing her fresh­man and sopho­more years and oc­ca­sion­ally lost her com­po­sure when she thought a call had been missed (lead­ing to some en­ter­tain­ing tantrums). Like you’d ex­pect from a 14, 15-year-old.

By her ju­nior and se­nior years, how­ever, she had ma­tured into a team leader and con­tin­ued to be an un­stop­pable pres­ence on the court.

Tracey didn’t need bas­ket­ball to be a suc­cess, but when you’ve got a tal­ent for some­thing, you should take ad­van­tage of it. So she con­tin­ued play­ing pro­fes­sion­ally af­ter she grad­u­ated from Mor­gan State Univer­sity with a de­grees in so­ci­ol­ogy and crim­i­nal jus­tice.

In the decades I’ve been writ­ing about high school ath­let­ics, I’ve met thou­sands of stu­dent-ath­letes. Only a com­par­a­tive few stick in my mem­ory so that I still re­call my in­ter­ac­tions with them years later. Tracey (and her twin brother, Charles) is among the mem­o­rable ones.

It was a joy see­ing Tracey when­ever she came back to visit Dun­dalk High af­ter she grad­u­ated in 2011, and it was a plea­sure fol­low­ing her suc­cess at Mor­gan State and be­yond.

When she be­gan play­ing for Mor­gan State, I was con­cerned be­cause for all her tal­ent, Tracey was railthin and I was afraid she would get out­mus­cled and pushed around by the big­ger play­ers in NCAA Divi­sion I bas­ket­ball.

Ob­vi­ously, that con­cern was mis­placed.

Now, I’m just try­ing to un­der­stand how two mur­der sus­pects came to be re­leased on bail, in a metro area where wit­ness in­tim­i­da­tion has been a prob­lem for some time.

A cou­ple of col­umns ago, I com­plained about the in­ces­sant rain and how I should fi­nally break down and get rain gear for the fall sea­son.

Since then, it has been op­pres­sively hot, so much so that un-air con­di­tioned schools had to de­lay their open­ing. Ex­cept, of course, for two days: when I had to be out­side for foot­ball games.

And now it seems it will never stop rain­ing.

Af­ter two games, the Pat­ap­sco and Spar­rows Point foot­ball teams have yet to score a touch­down on of­fense.

The prob­lem for the Poin­t­ers has been ob­vi­ous: a young squad whose best weapon on of­fense trans­ferred to Dun­dalk, and two strong op­po­nents in Ca­tonsville and Here­ford.

Against Dun­dalk, Pat­ap­sco was hand­i­capped by the loss of its start­ing quar­ter­back Don­taz Wil­son.

“Los­ing Don­taz re­stricted us be­cause he is the smartest player on the field at all times for us,” Pa­triot coach Tyler Clough said. “Sean Yoon stepped up and played well, but we were work­ing with a third of our play­book at our dis­posal.”

On the other hand, Pat­ap­sco hasn’t scored on Dun­dalk since los­ing 13-10 in 2014. This is the fourth straight time the Owls have blanked the Pa­tri­ots. That’s an en­tire gen­er­a­tion of Pat­ap­sco foot­ball play­ers who have never scored against Dun­dalk.

“They have a great de­fense and are coached very well,” Clough said. “Our biggest prob­lem right now is pre- and post-snap penal­ties. We rarely get a first and 10, sec­ond and six, third and two type of series. In­stead we shoot our­selves in the foot.”

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