What are the best high school teams in Frederick this fall?
Thanks to the coronavirus, we’ll likely have to wait until next spring to find out. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association postponed fall and winter sports until January because of the coronavirus pandemic.
So to help fill the void, The Frederick News-Post thought it would be fun to ask readers to pick the best Frederick County high school teams of all-time in each sport.
Each week, we’ll feature a sport and list contenders from years past in that sport. Readers can visit www.fredericknewspost.com to vote for the team they think is best. We’ll do this for all sports, fall, winter and spring.
Each Thursday, when we list candidates for another sport, we’ll reveal the team from the previous week’s sport that got the most votes.
This week’s sport: Girls basketball. May the best team win.
1988-89 Thomas Johnson Patriots
Record: 24-2, Class 3A state champion
Six years after helping Thomas Johnson win the program’s first state title as a player, Cheryl Fout helped the Patriots win another as a head coach.
TJ capped off its stellar season with a 43-38 win over Andover in the state final. The Patriots got clutch points down the stretch from guard Katy Dove and big rebounds from Michele Summers.
Dove finished with 15 points, while Summers had 15 points and 14 rebounds. Sharon Laing had 10 points.
One of TJ’s two losses came in the regular-season finale to Middletown, which went on to won the 2A state title that season.
1991-92 Linganore Lancers
Record: 25-0, Class 3A state champion
This Linganore team set the tone for the program, becoming the first of three during the 1990s to win a state title and go undefeated.
And whenever the Lancers seemed in danger of slacking, such as they did during a bumpy first half against Calvert in the state semis, coach Brian Matthews took steps to jolt them back into form.
“I went in and wrote ‘sissy’ on the board because that’s how we were playing,” Matthews told The Frederick News-Post back then, apparently referring to the halftime break.
With a strong second half, the Lancers ended up rolling to an 80-42 win over Calvert. Next up, they beat Watkins Mill 47-40 in the final, becoming the first county girls team to go unbeaten and win an MPSSAA title. That was only time all season that Linganore’s margin of victory was below 10.
Linganore featured a trio of stars in underclassmen Carrie Jenkins and Jen Gloyd, who split point guard duties and both went on to Division I programs, and senior Pam Andersen, who played at Slippery Rock. Andersen was the top scorer, averaging 18.4 points a game, while Mount St. Mary’s recruit Jenkins averaged 15.6 and UMBC-bound Gloyd averaged 12.
1992-93 Middletown Knights
Record: 26-0, Class 2A state champion
A blizzard made the Knights wait nearly a week to play the state championship game, and once they finally took the court, they found themselves trailing defending state champ Hammond by five points early in the fourth quarter.
But as they did every game that season under coach Mark Miller, the Knights found a way to win, pulling out a 53-48 win in overtime.
Middletown possessed many weapons, including a hounding man-to-man defense, which was a trademark of Miller-coached teams.
The Knights had a formidable post player in Tracey Kelley, who earned Frederick News-Post Co-Player of the Year honors and went on to play at East Carolina University. In the state final, Kelley was a valuable board-crasher, finishing with 17 rebounds, and had nine points.
Middletown’s guards were also a handful. One of them was Kara Reed (who later coached the Knights). The Frederick News-Post all-area first-teamer came up big in the state final, finishing with 20 points, six assists (including some in crunch time) and four steals. Another weapon for the Knights was Rachel Levine, who had four points in overtime (as did Reed) and three steals on the day.
1996-97 Linganore Lancers
Record: 28-0, Class 3A state champion
Moving up from Class 2A to Class 3A for the 1996-97 season wasn’t nearly enough to slow down the Lancers, not with a cornerstone player like star point guard Cara Consuegra.
Just as they did the previous season under coach Brian Matthews, the Lancers went undefeated and captured a state crown, beating Centennial 61-42 in the championship game. The victory made Linganore the first Maryland public school girls basketball team to win 28 games in a season, according to a Frederick News-Post article back then, and this was the Lancers’ 53rd straight win.
During the regular season, the Lancers had all the signs of a juggernaut, forcing turnovers on defense and averaging 79.7 points a game. And when confronted with challenges in the postseason, they didn’t wither, as their hard-fought 70-59 win over host South Carroll in the regional playoffs proved.
Against the Cavaliers, Consuegra bounced back from early-game struggles (including foul trouble) and scored a career-high 39 points. In her final game with the Lancers against Centennial, she had 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists, concluding a career that saw her break numerous records for an already strong program. She went on to star for Iowa University, played one season in the WNBA with the Utah Starzz and now coaches for Division I UNC-Charlotte.
Linganore featured another News-Post first-teamer in Mimi Ritter, who ended up playing for Mount St. Mary’s. In the state final, Ritter had 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
As good as this team was, there was yet another power in the county that same season. See below.
1996-97 St. John’s at Prospect Hall Vikings
In 1997, The Frederick News-Post published a photo of Nikki Teasley playing for St. John’s at Prospect Hall, and the cutline said she was going up for a dunk.
This was erroneous — Teasley didn’t attempt a dunk for the Vikings. But given her immense talent, the mistake was somewhat understandable.
The multi-faceted Teasley would go down as one of the most successful athletes to come out of Frederick County, going on to star at the University of North Carolina and in the WNBA, where she hit the game-winning 3-pointer for the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2002 championship game and won the all-star game MVP award in 2003.
Teasley won a slew of honors during her senior year at St. John’s, but only one needs to be listed here to signify what caliber of a player she was. She won the Gatorade Circle of Champions National High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year Award, becoming the first female athlete from Maryland to receive national honors from Gatorade.
Teasley, who finished with 2,233 points in her career at St. John’s, averaged 27 points, 9.3 rebounds, 8 assists and 4.4 steals per game as a senior. She turned in a typically dominant performance in her final game as a Viking, finishing with 28 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, three steals and two blocks to lead her team to an 84-48 win over St. Frances of Baltimore.
Standing 6-foot-1 and possessing strength and athleticism, she could dominate in the paint. But with exceptional ball-handling skills and court vision, she ran the point for the Vikings.
“I’ve usually tried to shy away from the concept of being a complete player because you usually can’t be the best post player and the best guard,” St. John’s coach Steve Kennedy told The Frederick News-Post back then. “But she’s capable of doing a little bit of everything.”
The Vikings also had 6-foot-3 forward Tiffany Thompson, who earned News-Post first-team honors as a junior that year, was the News-Post Player of the Year the following season and went on to play at Old Dominion.
The 1995-96 St. John’s team, which went 17-0, was also worthy of being on this list. But with a staggering 28 wins and Teasley at the peak of her powers as a high school player, this is a suitable representative for the Vikings during that era.
2002-03 Walkersville Lions
Record: 24-1, Class 2A state champion
This was Walkersville’s first state title, and stingy man-to-man defense was its forte. For evidence of that, look no further than the final score of the state championship game, where the Lions beat a severely hounded DuVal team 40-32.
Frederick County girls basketball teams have played in 31 MPSSAA championship games (where 16 of them won), and the other 30 all allowed more points in a final than the Lions did in 2003 under coach Mike Mathis. In fact, Walkersville limited DuVal, which had won a then-record seventh state crown the previous season, to 25 points below its scoring average.
“I don’t think really anyone gets our defense or understands it until we put it on them,” the Lions Gina Casadei told The Frederick News-Post after the final.
Koffi Harrison not only had a team-high 16 points, but the News-Post all-area first-teamer adeptly guarded Jennifer Martin, the Tigers’ 6-foot-1 inside scoring threat who ended up shooting 3-of-6 from the floor.
During the holiday break that season, the Lions sharpened their skills by playing in the Bowie State tournament, where they fell to Holy Cross and beat Meade. By March, they were unstoppable, winning their final 20 games.
Aside from Harrison (a senior who averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds), other Lions who earned all-county first-team honors were junior Chelsea Trout (who averaged a team-high 15.9 points) and junior D.J. Vernoy, a dogged defender who also averaged nine points and four assists.
2005-06 Middletown Knights
Record: 26-1, Class 2A state champion
Perhaps an undefeated record would make this Middletown team seem all-the-more impressive.
But looking at how the Knights avenged their lone loss, which came against Winters Mill in January, sheds light on how strong they had become by the postseason.
Fittingly, the rematch happened in the regional final, the very game where the Falcons had beaten the Knights the previous season. This time, Middletown removed all doubt of another disappointing showing against the Carroll County team, rolling to a 61-38 win.
Coached by Bill Miskell, Middletown was well on its way to a then-county record fourth state title (Frederick has since equaled that total), sealing the deal with a 57-51 win over Milford Mill Academy in the state final.
By the playoffs, Middletown was battle-tested after winning its way through a gauntlet of tough Frederick County teams, including three that won at least 20 games that season — eventual 1A state champ Catoctin, eventual 3A state semifinalist Urbana and MVAL Chesapeake champ Linganore.
Leading the way all season was senior forward Kristen Waeber, who averaged 19.2 points and 10.5 rebounds and earned Frederick News-Post Player of the Year honors. She scored 31 points against Milford Mill, becoming the first county girls player to score at least 30 points in a state title game. Waeber finished her career as Middletown’s all-time leading scorer with 1,728 points.
Other all-county first-teamers for the Knights were senior guards Amanda Kinna (11 ppg) and Jill Holian, and they got contributions from others like Whitney Boyer.
2010-11 Frederick Cadets
Record: 23-4, Class 3A state champion
This is the Frederick team that announced to the rest of Maryland that the program was a state power to be reckoned with.
Making their first MPSSAA final four appearance in 11 years and reaching the state championship for the first time in program history, the Cadets won the first of their four state crowns in nine years by pulling out a hard-fought 76-71 win over Aberdeen in the final.
Coach Keivette Hammond engineered a remarkable turnaround for the program, which was win-starved just a few years earlier.
Tight defense and a fast-paced offense were Frederick’s trademarks. The Cadets also had a go-to player in junior guard Lauren Tolson, who was capable of hitting ridiculously long 3s or driving by defenders who ventured outside to prevent such shots.
Tolson, who was The Frederick News-Post Player of the Year and later starred for the University of Richmond, averaged a team-high 19 points, seven rebounds and four steals a game. She had 24 points in the state final, although her older sister Jazmin also made clutch plays down the stretch of the back-and-forth game.
Other first-teamers for the Cadets were Lynasia Frazier, who averaged 13 points (she scored 19 in the state final), four assists and five steals, and senior guard Rachel Johnson, a tough defender who averaged 14 points, five steals, three assists and five rebounds.
Frederick would return to the MPSSAA final six of the next nine years, and they would do something historic during that stretch (see below).
2018-19 Frederick Cadets
Record: 24-3, Class 3A state champion
The 2018-19 Frederick Cadets became the first Frederick County basketball team, girls or boys, to win three straight state titles, completing their unprecedented run with a 58-44 win over Baltimore Polytechnic in the final.
Technically, Frederick’s string of state championships wasn’t broken — the team reached the state semis the next season but couldn’t continue defending its title because the postseason was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.
During its three-peat under coach Ashley Bush, Frederick had a few vital constants — a full-court press that routinely produced turnovers, a smothering man-to-man defense and star point guard Makayla Daniels.
The Cadets broke character in the state final, employing a seldom-seen (for them) 2-3 zone defense after seeing Poly players get past them at the top of the key for layup opportunities throughout the first half. That new defensive approach, combined with a vintage Daniels performance, helped the Cadets bring home yet another crown.
Daniels, who went on to become an immediate contributor at the University of Arkansas, had moves and crossovers that could confound defenders, seemingly limitless energy on defense, an ability to set up others with nice passes and a reliable 3-point shot. Against Poly, she had a game-high 26 points along with six steals, three assists and seven rebounds.
If opposing defenses understandably fixated on containing Daniels, they ran the risk of getting burned by another Frederick standout, sophomore post player Rose Bubakar. Bubakar erupted against Long Reach in the semis, hitting layups, putbacks and fast-break buckets to get a game-high 27 points.
With contributions from others such as Jalynn Montgomery and Rhiana Hall, Frederick didn’t wilt from the pressure of doing something no county hoops team had ever done before.
2019-20 Middletown Knights
Record: 25-1, Class 2A state semifinalist
We’ll never know if this team would’ve won a state title. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the girls basketball postseason was canceled with Middletown poised to play in the state semis.
But returning key players, including UConn-bound junior Saylor Poffenbarger, from a team that fell in the state final the previous season and playing at an even higher level as the 2019-20 season progressed, the Knights had the look of a serious title contender. And just like every other team on this list, the Knights won their final game of the season, beating Liberty 70-46 in the state quarterfinals.
Poffenbarger, a 6-foot-2 junior, is a versatile force who can do damage in many ways. Earning Frederick News-Post Player of the Year honors, she averaged 21.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game. Another major contributor for the Knights was Meghan Shipley, who earned first-team honors with 12.2 points and 2.4 assists a game.
Middletown’s lone loss came in the season opener against three-time defending state champ Frederick. That setback was avenged in the CMC championship game, where the Knights won 70-44, snapping Frederick’s 37-game win streak against county teams.