One is credited with the quickest first step in the county and the other is considered one of the top post threats in the area. Together, Caitlin McLister and Brittney George provide the Middletown High School girls basketball team with a formidable combination that has the Knights in the mix for a regional title this winter.
“It does give us an inside-outside action,” Middletown coach Bill Miskell said. “Caitlin has the ability to get to the basket and what she does opens up things for Brittney on the inside.’
Their unique abilities have produced an average of 25.3 points per game (almost half of the team’s 53.8). 10.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 3.5 steals to lead the Knights to an 11-6 record through the weekend with recent wins against county powerhouses Walkersville, Gov. Thomas Johnson and Frederick.
“We connect really well. We’ve been playing together since seventh grade,” said George, who was an All-Gazette honorable mention selection along with McLister last winter. “We play [Amateur Athletic Union] together [on the Maryland Heat]. We got really close and we got to know each other off the field and on the field. We play soccer together, too, so we know our strengths and weaknesses and we know how to connect.
“I know where she likes to shoot. She’s a shooter. I’m a rebounder. I would get a rebound and I know where she’s supposed to be to get her the ball in time. She’s got an extremely quick first step and I’m strong down in the paint.”
McLister leads the Knights in scoring at 13.1 points per game, including 20 points in a win against defending state champion Century on Jan. 15, 15 points against Thomas Johnson, 19 points in the win against Frederick and 15 in a loss to Tuscarora on Friday.
“She can hit the 15 [to] 17-foot jumper and that makes her so dangerous,” Miskell said. “You have to respect that, but she has one of the quickest first steps, if not the quickest, in Frederick County. That really helps her get to the basket. If you stay off her to play the drive, she’s going to kill you with jumper. If you come up too tight, she breaks you down off the dribble. She has done a really nice job with that. Against the top competition, she has stepped up offensively.”
George averages 12.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while playing a slightly different position this year.
Miskill, to keep George from facing taller opponents strictly in the post, has moved the senior forward to the perimeter to better take advantage of her skills.
“She’s a little undersized in the post when you look at other teams like Oakdale and Walkersville,” Miskill said. “We’ve actually tried to extend Brittney’s game a little bit. We’re running more of a five-out offense and other times we’re running the post. We’re trying to use her quickness and ability to get to the basket against bigger post players.”
George is more than on board with the idea because “it helps my game; my outside shooting.”
“They’re great kids and they deserve everything they’re getting because they work hard,” said Oakdale coach Rob Healy, who has coached both on the Maryland Heat. “Brittney is a post player that I wish I had on my team because she’s so tough inside and Caitlin’s probably got the quickest step in the county. She can just drive and she’s very effective offensively.”
They are playing along with the steady scoring of Jess Racz and Middletown is playing perhaps its best basketball of the 2012-13 campaign with about a week left in the regular season.
“Honestly, if we play like we have the last two games with our heart and hustle and everyone working together, I think we could go far,” McLister said.