River Hill’s girls basketball team has been a juggernaut in Howard County for the several years, winning eight of the last 11 league championships, but coach Teresa Waters has just two returning players from last year’s title team.

“This is a season of growth, that’s what I refer to it as,” said Waters, whose team was in the Class 2A state title game two seasons ago.  “We have a whole lot of work to do but we’re going to continue to work hard.”

“We’re trying to find our identity,” she added.

The Hawks lost the County’s Player of the Year Shantrel Oliver and All-County first team selection Alex Vega to graduation but took the first step in their rebuilding process with a 63-39 victory over visiting Wilde Lake on Tuesday.

Sophomore guard Meg Sterling, one of two returners for River Hill (1-0), paced her team with a game-high 16 points.  Junior Holly Sanders (four points) also returns but neither played a major role on last year’s squad, which also won the District V Championship.

Long Reach transfer, senior guard Abbey Defeo contributed 12 points and freshman forward Julia Collins added 11. 

“We’re really excited that we’re starting off brand new,” said Sterling.  “Everyone is working hard in every practice and we’re playing together as a team.  We just have to work on communicating, boxing out and all of the fundamentals.  But we’re hoping to do really well this year.”

The Wildecats (0-1) were powered by a pair of seniors, point guard Kiana Richards (14 points) and Montrose Christian transfer Indigo Dickens.

The 6-foot-2 Dickens just missed recording a triple-double, scoring 15 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking eight shots. She also added four steals. Sophomore forward Kourtney Harrison tallied nine rebounds.

Indigo Dickens“I think we played a pretty good game but we could have done a better job on defense and turning the ball over,” said Dickens, a recent commit to LaSalle University.  “If we work on those things, we’ll be a much better team this year.”

River Hill closed out the first quarter on a 15-2 run to take a commanding 21-7 lead.  Defeo started the spurt with a three-pointer, Sterling added back-to-back buckets off turnovers and Julia Collins capped the run with a jumper.

Wilde Lake struggled with the Hawks’ full-court pressure but Richards broke it a few times and got to the free-throw line in the second quarter. As a team, the Wildecats went 10-for-17 from the free throw line in the second quarter but still trailed 35-19 at the half.

In the second half, the Hawks kept the pressure on and their lead never fell below 13 points for the rest of the game.

“We have big hopes for this year,” said Wilde Lake’s first-year coach Caitlin Williams.  “We’ve got some new faces, a couple freshmen on varsity and a transfer, so we just want to come out and play aggressive defense, play with heart and play with hustle.  We’re excited to do things different at Wilde Lake this year.”

With the Howard County league being so wide open this year, with just two teams in the preseason Varsity Sports Network Top 20 Poll, No. 17 Atholton and No. 19 Howard, both River Hill and Wilde Lake have time to improve and remain in the race down the stretch.


River Hill 63, Wilde Lake 39
Wilde Lake71271339
River Hill2114131563
Wilde Lake:
Richards 14, Dickens 15, Quade 2, Lampley 2, Harrison 4, Schnorf 2. Totals 11 17-30 39.
River Hill:
Defeo 12, Sandler 4, Je. Collins 9, Ju. Collins 11, Rowe 4, Sterling 16, Masker 2, Robinson 2, Anderson 1, Mehta 2. Totals 23 14-28 63.