Loading…
Friday, August 01, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Tuesday, 1/16/2001

2 leagues, 4 girls and a whole lot of points

BY CRAIG MANTEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Four girls. Four seasons. Formidable play.

The Class of 2001 has been an amazing one for girls basketball in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League and the Suburban Lakes League.

Seniors Kendra Damman of Evergreen and Shanna Pressler of Montpelier in the NWOAL, and Heather Hill of Gibsonburg and Genoa's Kelly Lindesmith in the SLL all have surpassed 1,000 career points and are intent on adding to their totals before the season is through.

The common thread among them is that they have all been playing basketball since they were young and all are motivated to excel.

Damman, a 5-7 point guard whose 26.4 points per game is rapidly elevating her career point total, is now at 1,278.

That's thanks in part to the up-tempo style of first-year Evergreen coach Dan English, who has the Vikings off to a 10-1 start, the only loss to NWOAL preseason co-favorite Patrick Henry.

"(Damman) gets everything going for us,'' said English. "She runs the team. She's like a coach on the floor.

"What impresses me is her jump-stop jump shot. She goes hard to the basket, pulls up and hits the jumper. Most girls can't do that."

If Damman can continue her pace for the rest of the regular season she will pass Evergreen's career scoring leader, Chris Mossing, who has 1,553 points.

Damman, who carries a 3.8 grade-point average, doesn't do it at the expense of the rest of her game. She also plays at the front of English's very demanding half-court press.

She began playing basketball with her father, Jeff Damman, and going to open gyms with her stepfather, John Langenderfer, when "I was probably about 5 years old."

It doesn't stop with basketball. She has been the best shortstop in NWOAL softball for the last two seasons, and also has been a leader on the volleyball team.

Her fondest basketball memories were scoring her 1,000th point and beating Liberty Center in her freshman year. It was the girls' first league win in several years, she says.

English looks back at their game with Ottawa Hills earlier this season. The Vikings were down by 16 going into the final quarter, but Damman scored 21 of her 35 points and the Vikings remained unbeaten. "She just took over that game,'' he says.

Damman's biggest goal now is to win a district championship and "get a banner on the wall. The girls haven't had one since 1984."

Hill is just 38 points shy of her AAU teammate at 1,240 and is averaging 26.3 points a game this season for 11-1 Gibsonburg. Hill played with Damman and Pressler - as well as Southview's Kelly Heil, who also went over 1,000 points this season - on Jim Gracyk's North Coast Purple Power team that finished third in the state and advanced to the nationals two summers ago.

"It's pretty cool. We all played together and we're (going over 1,000 points) at the same time,'' said Hill, a 4.0 student.

The 5-9 guard probably would have been in the scoring lead had she not hurt her foot her freshman year and played in only 10 games. She missed two more games last season with a concussion.

Hill, who was third team All-Ohio last season, is also averaging 8.5 assists, 8 steals and 7 rebounds a game for the Golden Bears, according to coach Shawn Ginnan.

Ginnan remembers a game where Hill "fell down, never lost the dribble and threw a perfect no-look pass to the post. I've never been around a kid that was as competitive as I was.''

Her work ethic is what sets her apart, he said. "She came in every day last summer and shot 200 3s, and would not leave until she made 12 in a row." She also shot 150 free throws a day.

That's on top of her being good enough to be offered Mid-American Conference scholarships as a setter in volleyball and being an all-district catcher in softball. She's played varsity in all three sports since she was a freshman.

Hill was a ball girl for the Gibsonburg girls team when she was in the fifth and sixth grades and joined an AAU under-11 team when she was 9.

"I just have fun playing sports,'' she said. "It's fun to go out and have fun with your teammates, and go out and win."

Her best basketball memory, she said, was rallying to beat Van Buren in last year's sectional tournament. Hill scored 22 points in the fourth quarter.

Lindesmith, who has scored 1,231 points, "just tries to fit in with everybody else,'' Genoa coach Chris Mathews said. "One of her biggest things is winning - doing whatever it takes to win."

The 5-7 guard also would have had more points had she not missed the last eight games last year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. You wouldn't know it's still hurting her by her 21.3 points a game.

Mathews calls Lindesmith a pure shooter. She's shooting 49 percent from the field (67 of 137), has made 57 of 70 free-throw attempts (81 per cent), and is averaging 4 rebounds and 3.5 steals.

She shot the ball extremely well for the Comets (6-6) against Oak Harbor and New Riegel, Mathews said, scoring 29 against each.

The 3.6 student began playing basketball in the fourth grade. She dropped volleyball after her sophomore year to concentrate on her favorite sport.

"I always shot around (in her backyard),'' she said. "I kind of realized I was pretty good, so I kept at it."

Lindesmith says she has to ice her knee a lot more than in the past, but "once I warm up for a game, I forget about it."

It helped to score her 1,000th point in her first game back from the injury.

"It was good to get back,'' she said. Winning and reaching 1,000 just made it better.

She just wants to "get teams to notice us and give us a little more respect. If we could win a sectional for the first time when I play, that would be nice."

Pressler got to the magic scoring plateau earlier than any of her counterparts, topping the mark as a junior. She is averaging 17.6 points per game this season as part of 1,161 for her career.

The 6-3 senior is Montpelier's all-time leading girls scorer. Pressler holds Locomotives single-game records for points (38), rebounds (25), assists (14), steals (9) and blocks (10). She also is the career leader in rebounds, assists and blocks.

She's played inside and outside, at the point and the wing, said coach Todd Grosjean, whose team is 6-3 this season and 63-14 in Pressler's career.

"She's pretty much done it all, and she seems to shine in big games," Grosjean said.

But volleyball is Pressler's first love and she's signed to continue playing at the University of Dayton. She's twice been named All-Ohio in volleyball.

Pressler grew up in the gym, first as manager for her father when he coached the Hopewell-Loudon basketball team. "Once I was 5 or 6, I started going all the time," she said. When she "spurted up to the tallest one" in the fourth grade, her services were sought after.

Her basketball highlight, she said, was winning the NWOAL championship as a sophomore. "That hadn't happened at Montpelier for years, so to finally achieve it was really exciting."

Not unlike watching any of these four in action.



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.