With the graduation loss of two-time Gazette Player of the Year Lauren Tolson among others over the past two seasons, the Frederick girls basketball team, the two-time defending 3A West Region champions and 2011 state champs were expected to take a step back this winter.
It appears that no one told the Cadets that as Frederick once again appears to be the team to beat in the county, partly because of the emergence of senior guard Courtney Davis, who has gone from a role player behind Tolson and India Dotson to the team’s go-to and most versatile competitor.
“I don’t think everybody expected that out of her because last year we had India and Lauren,” Frederick coach Keivette Hammond said. “She had a different role. Now that they’re graduated and gone on to other things, it has now become that she needs to step into more of a defensive and scoring role.
“She can bring it up. She can shoot it and she can play a little inside like a small forward. She’s done a great job for us this year. I think she’s been in double figures in every game, so we’re proud of her and her development.”
Davis displayed all of her game in a 54-49 win against Prince George’s County’s Suitland last week at the 2012 IAABO Christmas tournament. Defensively, she helped lock down Rams’ point guard Renee Kydd, who was forced into eight turnovers and 5-for-15 shooting from the field.
Offensively, Davis, who has a silky smooth jump shot with long-range ability, played both guard spots, including point guard in the fourth quarter to take advantage of some mismatches. She finished with a game-high 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field and 6-for-8 from the free throw line to go along with nine rebounds and two steals.
“She’s a good ballplayer,” Suitland coach Keith Lynch said. “She’s very aggressive and very quick. She has a nice jump shot.”
Davis also scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in the team’s 73-37 loss to Prince George’s County powerhouse Charles H. Flowers (7-1) during the IAABO tournament and she dropped in 25 points in Frederick’s early season, 66-50, victory against Tuscarora.
“I try to help my team as much as possible for being a senior,” Davis said. “It’s a lot of fun playing with the girls this year. It’s a good experience. I’m looking for my shot and I’m taking it to help my team.”
Besides the play of Davis, the Cadets, 5-1 through the weekend, have leaped out of the gates through a balanced and deep lineup that includes Kiyana Chaney, Jennifer Nguyen, Cierra Hensley, Andrew Mwando, Cristina Negoescu, Kari Betson, Akeria Grant and Meghan Weeks, and its signature pressure defense and fundamentally-sound offense.
“We graduated nine,” Hammond said. “But I think it’s a testament to my coaching staff at the freshman and [junior varsity] level that they bring those kids up and they’re prepared and ready to play. We had a JV team that was undefeated last year, so they were able to slide right into slots and contribute.”