Shooting Stars “Gold” Turns “Platinum”

| May 15, 2009 | 0 Comments
basketballgirls

Stars Gold Capture 2nd State Championship

The Maryland Lady Shooting Stars 14U “gold” won their 2nd straight State Championship defeating the Maryland Storm 47-40 in last weekend’s District Qualifying Tournament (DQT).  The victory was “all so” bittersweet for Coach Bailey, his staff, and his girls who have endured huge obstacles during their championship run.

Prior to the DQT, many spectators, supporters, critics, and bloggers had already anointed these talented ten as repeat champions.  The Stars had earned a reputation of being the best 14U team in the State let alone the DQT.  What many did not comprehend was this is a different “gold” team.  Coach Bailey lost veteran players from last year’s squad who were replaced with new blood and younger talents.  Orienting and developing the new talents to the team’s schema was challenging enough.  But to add to Coach Bailey’s daunting task, in the DQT, he was matched against two good opponents (Columbia Ravens and MD Storm) who the Stars had beaten twice in previous competition by large margins.  In conjunction, it was Mother’s Day and what better gift to give to mom than a victory over the professed 14U “elite” team of Maryland.

Stars “gold” entered each game in the DQT with a commitment to defense.  This was apparent throughout the tournament.  In their first game of bracket play against the Baltimore Cougars, the Stars’ defense enveloped the Cougars holding them to 21 points the entire game.  The pressure became so overwhelming that the coach [Cougars] voiced his disapproval about the “gold’s” full court assault.  In the Final Four, the Ravens had the mindset and game plan to deliver their mothers the ultimate gift–a win against the “gold”.  For 34 minutes and 26 seconds, the Ravens seem to execute the plan to perfection.  However, with 1:34 left in the game and trailing by 5, the Stars’ defense created mayhem with three consecutive steals to give them their first lead of the game.  As the time expired, the Ravens found it extremely difficult to score that resulted in a Stars victory.

The State Championship brought a lure because many had predicted that these two teams would play for the title.  In addition, quite a few observers thought that the Storm had the size and offensive arsenal to neutralize the Stars’ defense.  In the first half, Stars “gold” flexed its defensive muscle limiting the Storm to just 10 first half points.  Offensively, the Stars enjoyed a 17-point lead that was sparked by its younger talents.  However, after the intermission, the Storm gathered their composure as well as the novelty for some of the younger players of being in a big game wore off.  The Storm erased the halftime deficit to take a 2-point lead.  Unfortunately for them, the “gold” has proven to be “battle tested” and with 3 minutes left to play, they showed why they are revered as the best 14U team in the area.  Injured players availed themselves to Coach Bailey, in turn,  he increased the pressure of his defense to take a commanding lead that ended with him, his staff and Stars winning their second consecutive State Championship.

We congratulate the Maryland Lady Shooting Stars 14U “gold” for winning their second straight State Championship and earning their fourth D-1 National bid.  These young ladies and their coaches are examples of what can be accomplished if there is a will to commit to hard work.  We all should applaud these student-athletes (as well as the other talents in the Stars Organization) who continue to sacrifice their fun, time, energy, and bodies for the goals of winning a national championship and becoming the elite talents in the country.  Again, we say excellent job to you Coach Bailey, your staff, the parents,  and the Shooting Stars “gold” and we wish you all much success at the Nationals.

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Avid fan of girls' basketball in Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties.