The continued rise of the Suitland High School girls basketball program to a county heavyweight can be attributed to the arrival of former Riverdale Baptist coach Keith Lynch four years ago.
But his coming to the Forestville school was just one of two important appearances.
The other was the enrollment of now senior guard Renee Kydd, who is in her fourth year on the varsity team and in her fourth year as one of the team’s top players.
In fact, Lynch, who has compiled a 39-36 record (through Tuesday) at the school, said Kydd was the team’s most valuable player the past three seasons, including last year’s 15-7 campaign, and she looks poised for a fourth such honor through nine games of the current season.
“She’s such a valuable player; she hustles on defense and she’s going to play all 32 minutes,” Lynch said. “If you leave her in for 32 minutes, she’s going to give you everything she has on offense and defense.
“Late in the game, she wants the basketball. She wants to create something, make something happen. When you’ve got a player like that, you just let them do their thing.”
True to his word, Kydd logged 29 or more minutes in all three of last week’s 2012 IAABO Christmas tournament games while facing a trio of quality teams in West Springfield (Va.), Friendly and Frederick. In those games, she knocked down 18, 11 and 15 points, respectively, although it was not enough to lift Suitland (5-4) to victory.
“It seems regardless of what you try to do — you deny her, she catches it, she goes coast-to-coast and lays it in and gets fouled,” Frederick coach Keivette Hammond said. “She’s a great player. She is really, really fast and she has a good knack for the ball.”
Kydd’s performance on the offensive end was even more impressive in her team’s first six games, including 35 points against Henry A. Wise, the two-time defending 4A South Region champions, to open the season. She also dropped in 18 points against a solid Meade team and 15 points vs. Eleanor Roosevelt (7-0) for an average of 19 points per game.
“It’s going good, but we need to do well collectively as a team,” said Kydd, who dished out 10 assists against Wise and Meade and had six in the loss to Roosevelt to lead the Rams to a 5-4 mark. “Once we fix the mistakes, I think we can do something this year.”
Both Kydd and Lynch are hoping the lessons learned from those setbacks last week — the Rams battled Frederick, a 3A state contender the past two years, to a virtual standstill before some turnovers led to the narrow loss, the team’s fourth straight — help propel Suitland to more wins in the New Year.
The early going will be rough, however, as two of the team’s three games in 2013 are against Bowie and Charles H. Flowers, a pair of 7-1 squads.
“We learned a lot and this is just going to make us better for our season,” Lynch said.