Player of the Year
Mandakova Clark Milford Mill, senior
The 5-8 Rutgers-bound guard polished off her career by breaking a nine-year-old state tournament record for most three-point field goals in two games. She hit nine - six in a semifinal victory over Thomas Stone and three more in a 41-33 loss to DuVal in the Class 3A final.
Her behind-the-back dribbles, no-look passes and crowd-pleasing fakes only enhanced her ability to make the easy shots and the seemingly impossible ones.
The two-time All-Metro pick shot 56 percent from the field, averaged 21 points during the regular season, and boosted that average to 25 in the regional and state playoffs. She also contributed six rebounds and seven assists per game.
"She's the best player I've ever coached," said Milford coach Pam Wright. "She's made this program so much better. I can't replace her. It may be a long time before we get another Mandy."
Clark, a preseason Street & Smith's honorable mention All-American, was one of only 20 players nationwide selected for the Phoenix/WBCA High School All-America Game, which will be shown on ESPN2 at noon, April 8.
Coach of the Year
Teresa Waters River Hill
In her 19th season of coaching, Waters reaped a couple of firsts - a Howard County title and county Coach of the Year honors.
Her No. 4 Hawks went 18-0 in the county and finished 24-1 overall. They just missed a trip to the state final four, falling to eventual state champ DuVal, 40-37, in the Class 3A East region final.
"Everything just came together," said Waters, whose team was 12-11 in 1998-99, her first season at River Hill. "We didn't have all the nit-picking that was taking place prior to this year, and everybody understood the importance of team play. The kids that came back spent the off-season improving their skills, and the five freshmen we added really knew how to play. We had all the ingredients to make this team successful."
Waters had the county's most talented team, and she handled them well on and off the court. "Everyone gets along with her real well," said junior Keiko Miller-Tate. "Off the court she's a real friend. When you need her, she's there, and you can go to her and talk about anything."
Waters' career record is 195-219. She was 159-207 in 17 seasons at Oakland Mills.
She has been to the state championship game four times - twice as player at Snow Hill in Worcester County. She averaged 24 points playing for Snow Hill, which narrowly lost both finals. Her Oakland Mills team lost the final in 1991 and won the Class 1A championship in 1998.
Keisha Blackwell Seton Keough, junior
The junior point guard lived up to her billing as a preseason Street & Smith's honorable mention All-America selection. Her quickness gave the No. 3 Gators (26-5) many offensive options and bolstered their trademark stingy defense.
An exciting player to watch, Blackwell could shoot from outside, penetrate or draw the defense and pass to an open teammate.
Moving to the point this year, her ballhandling proved exceptional. She averaged twice as many assists as turnovers. Her 4.3 assists per game led the Gators, who spent five weeks at No. 1.
Blackwell also contributed 9.9 points a game to help the Gators to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference tournament crown.
LaTonya Blue St. Frances, junior
Another Street & Smith's preseason honorable mention All-American, Blue enjoyed a breakout season for the Panthers (21-4), who finished at No. 6 but spent five weeks at No. 1.
The 5-10 guard emerged as a leader, taking over when she had to but blending easily into the overall team game. A smooth player with exceptional moves to the basket, Blue excelled at the little things while posting some of the Panthers' best numbers.
Blue had a keen eye for the open players, contributing 6.2 assists as well as 10.5 points and three steals per game. Tough in the big games, she scored 14 points and blocked a last-second three-point attempt to assure a 56-53 upset of then-No. 1 Seton Keough in January.
Nicole Dailey Meade, junior
A second-team All-Metro selection last season, Dailey continued to put up big numbers. She led the Mustangs by averaging 15.6 points and 15.8 rebounds. She also set a school single-season record for blocks with 67.
The 6-1 forward brought a complete game offensively - scoring inside as well as being able to run the floor. But she improved tremendously on the defensive end as well as on the boards.
The junior came through in the clutch, scoring a game-high 27 points in the Mustangs' regional quarterfinal 66-62 loss to No. 20 C. Milton Wright. She also had 23 points and 11 rebounds in the 69-63 regular-season loss to No. 2 Arundel.
Rayna DuBose Oakland Mills, junior
Howard County's most dominant post player, DuBose averaged 18.2 points, 15.3 rebounds and 4.2 blocks, leading the Scorpions (15-9) in all three categories.
The solidly-built 6-2 junior center already has scored 1,067 points in her career. This season, she posted 21 double doubles, scoring many of her points off offensive rebounds.
Twice, she scored 29 points, including a game against Howard when she scored 20 in the fourth quarter and overtime to rally her team from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit.
DuBose was named the Most Valuable Player at Woodlawn's holiday tournament after amassing 40 points and 31 rebounds in two games. Later, she contributed 23 points and 20 rebounds to a 48-44 Scorpions upset of then-No. 4 Mount Hebron.
Denise King Seton Keough, senior
The Gators have won three straight tournament titles with King in the lineup.
Able to hit the 20-footer or penetrate, the 5-8 guard put up the best numbers on her team this season in scoring with 10.4 points and in rebounding with 7.9. She also contributed 2.4 assists per game.
The three-time All-Metro first- teamer scored 15 points to lead the Gators over No. 11 Roland Park, 45-29, for the first IAAM A Conference tournament title.
One of the best defensive players around, King led a team that has ranked among the area's top defensive squads for four years, allowing only 35.2 points per game this season.
King signed early to play at Rhode Island next year.
Jill Marano Arundel, junior
The Anne Arundel County Player of the Year led the No. 2 Wildcats (25-2) to the state Class 4A championship. Marano missed five games with a sprained ankle, but with her in the lineup, the Wildcats were 22-0.
A second-team All-Metro pick last year, Marano averaged 15.8 points, 5.3 assists and 4.5 steals for the Anne Arundel County champs. She shot 50.6 percent from the field and 81 percent from the line.
An intense player and relentless defender, Marano had a knack for making the big plays when her team needed them most. In state tournament wins over Frederick and Oxon Hill, she compiled 36 points, 17 assists and nine steals.
Greeba Outen Barlow River Hill, junior
The Howard County Player of the Year, Outen Barlow enjoyed a breakthrough season in leading the Hawks (24-1) to their first county title and their first No. 1 ranking.
The 5-9 junior forward averaged 15.8 points and 3.1 assists - both team bests. Her efforts helped the No. 4 Hawks win their first 24 games before falling, 40-37, to eventual state Class 3A champ DuVal in the East region championship.
Outen Barlow also contributed 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game.
A leader on a talented young team, she excelled with her ability to create as well as her passing and vision on the court. She was a scoring threat both inside and from three-point range. Outen Barlow also emerged as an improved defensive player.
Shanell Watson St. Frances, senior
The 5-5 senior guard provided much of the spark in the Panthers' excellent season. Watson led her team in scoring with 14.8 points per game and became the fourth all-time leading scorer in school history with 1,218 career points. She provided leadership and always came through in the clutch, with her ability to score off the dribble or hit three-pointers.
Perhaps Watson's best game came in the 49-47 IAAM A Conference tournament quarterfinal loss to Roland Park in which she single-handedly kept the Panthers in the game. Playing without the Panthers' other two top players, Watson contributed to almost every point against the Reds, finishing with 19 points and seven assists.
LaKesha Wills Dunbar, senior
The 5-10 center led the Poets (25-1) to the final No. 1 ranking and a sweep of postseason firsts - the Baltimore City championship, the North region title and the state Class 2A crown.
A dominant post player, Wills' 24-point average led the Metro area and her 14.5-rebound average also ranked among the area's best. Despite often having to match up against taller players in postseason, the senior used a quick spin move in the paint and her ability to hit from anywhere within 20 feet to roll up the points.
She scored 18 points in the 52-51 city-title win over Western and 21 in the 53-36 state-final victory over Linganore. In the Baltimore City/County Senior All-Star Game, Wills scored 16 to lead the city to a 74-58 victory.
Jen Biscoe, John Carroll, Senior Guard
Lillian Drumgold, Western, Junior Forward
Heather Easter, North Carroll, Senior Guard
Najmah Fauntleroy, Arundel, Junior Forward
Page Heath, C. Milton Wright, Senior Guard
Natalie Hicks, Severna Park, Senior Guard
Kristin Jasper, John Carroll, Junior Forward
Jacque LaFleur, Bel Air, Senior Guard
Keiko Miller-Tate, River Hill, Junior Forward
Tiffaney Randle, Mount Hebron, Junior Forward