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City rec teams draw girls to basketball

(Published March 25, 2002)

By BRIAN BRADFORD

Staff Writer

March Madness was in full swing when the D.C. Parks and Recreation Department held a round-robin tournament for girls at Langdon Park and Bald Eagle centers March 22-23 that featured some of the city’s best young female players. Most of the players spent the winter participating on boys’ teams and said they welcomed the chance to run against an all-girls team.

Two games featuring four of the city’s top teams were decided by one basket in each game.

In the first contest Kenilworth Parkside’s 7-9 year olds rallied to beat the Palisades team 8-6. Palisades jumped out to a quick lead off of two first-quarter baskets by Caroline Harrison. Kenilworth’s Lavonda Oliver answered with two baskets in the second quarter, setting a tense halftime scene.

Shaquanda Reed broke a 6-6 tie with a bank shot off the glass with four seconds remaining in the third quarter. The shot would be the game winner. "I’m glad," Reed said.

After a jittery first quarter Kenilworth’s trapping zone defense changed the game. "They were good dribblers – until a defender was on them. So we pressed and that forced turnovers and that’s how we got three of our four baskets," said head coach Sandra Johnson.

"Our defense kept us in the game," added Kenilworth shooting guard Terrie Peterson.

In the second game, Marie Reed rallied from a 17-point deficit to tie the score at 31 with a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. Beacon House knocked down free throws to hold on to a 36-33 win and eliminate Marie Reed from the 13-15 division.

Beacon House is an after-school center run independently of the city’s recreation department. The program offers kids in the Edgewood neighborhood academic tutoring and athletic coaching. Beacon House travels to various recreation centers borrowing practice time in recreation center gymnasiums.

"I think it’s a shame that every recreation center doesn’t have a girls’ team," Cephus said. "If everyone participated, the girls could have a longer season. The season is too short. If the recreation centers don’t promote the program and recruit the girls, the interest will dwindle."

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator