Cumberland Times-News

Mike Mathews - Sports

March 10, 2009

Campers fixed as ever on ultimate prize


There are many overused clichés and directives in the world of coachspeak, especially at playoff time.

One is to “take them one at a time,” believed to have been first uttered by Olympic wrestling champ Milo of Croton during the Summer Games of 540 B.C.

Another is the need to stay focused.

What exactly does that mean?

You don’t have to ask a coach, study certain behavior patterns, or even look it up in Noah Webster’s book of too many words to find the definition.

All you had to do was listen to Jenna Mathews of the Allegany High girls basketball team, after her team had beaten Poolesville, 53-29, on Saturday to earn a trip to the state tournament.

One of four Alco seniors, Mathews was playing her typical game — smart and aggressive. In the opening minutes of the second half, with the score 20-15, she cut her lip and suffered a broken nose.

She returned and had four points and five rebounds in the half, and finished with a game-high 12 points and nine rebounds.

After the game, she was in for a 90-minute ride home and a trip to the hospital.

“It hurt pretty bad at first,’’ she said, even chuckling a bit. “I know I’m going to the hospital when I get home to get it set, but I’m more worried about Friday’s game than the hospital.”

That’s focus, with physical and mental toughness close by on center stage, too.

“Jenna is the most competitive kid,’’ said coach Jim O’Neal. “Whenever we’re in a fight, we know she’s going to step up and come through for us.”

Last year’s loss to Pocomoke in the state championship game is still pretty fresh on the minds of the Campers. Since the final buzzer that night, they’ve wanted nothing more than to return to that final game.

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Mike Mathews - Sports
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