Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Jaguar girls roar to best start in 10 years

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Just how excited is Northwest High girls basketball head coach Marc Waldman about his team, after having the best start in the school’s 10-year history?

You’ll have to read between the lines.

‘‘The first month of the season went well, but we are still working on consistency,” he said. ‘‘We’ve had to rally from some big deficits in three of our seven wins. We need to put together a full game all of the time.”

OK, coach-speak aside, he admits to being pretty excited. The Jaguars are 7-1 through the first month of the season, and it appears to be no aberration.

Why, you ask? Northwest has a stud frontcourt that most teams can only dream about. Junior Deven Green, a returning All-Gazette first-team center, and Howard-commit Nikki Day have been unstoppable thus far, combining for 40 points and 17 rebounds per game. Most importantly, neither is selfish. As Waldman says, they get their points ‘‘in the flow of the game.”

That’s important because of the equal-opportunity offense that Northwest runs. It necessitates that every player on the court be willing to shoot when the looks are there, and so far, they have. Guards Meghan Moeltner, Jordan Miles and Grace Stewart — who’s put together four double-digit scoring outputs — have all been willing and able complements to Green and Day.

The Jaguars are also winning almost all of their close games, something that they couldn’t a year ago. Their first two victories were both by five points or less, and their last two have been in overtime. In fact, their last three games has been overtime affairs, including a 62-60 victory over Churchill and their most recent game, a 64-55 triumph over Marriotts Ridge of Howard County in a holiday tournament.

Another reason for their fast start is their quick tempo. They’ve scored at least 60 points five times this year.

‘‘We just want to try to go 100 miles per hour for 32 minutes each and every game,” Waldman said. ‘‘If that occurs, we feel good things will happen.”