'90 Great For Pitchers, Shooters And Booters

December 30, 1990|By Rick Belz

The year 1990 was very good for Scorpion shooters, hard-throwing pitchers and Atholton booters.

Here are my top 10 sports memories of the past year, with my apologies to those who feel left out:

Improbable. Unheard of. Downright impossible.

That's how one might describe Wilde Lake's boys basketball comeback against Oakland Mills Jan. 19.

The Wildecats trailed Oakland Mills by 24 points with just three minutes left in the first half, and then rallied to win, 80-76. Wilde Lake outscored Oakland Mills 25-10 in the fourth period.

It was the greatest comeback I've ever seen -- and even more incredible when you consider that Oakland Mills went on to a state Class 3A title and lost just two games all season.

*

Gutsy. Emotional. Heart-warming. That was Hammond's Class 2A/1A Region III wrestling championship Feb. 24 at Glenelg High.

It was the first wrestling title of any kind for Hammond, and it followed by just several days the suicide of highly popular 15-year-old team member Lawaan Williams.

The Bears accomplished the 118-113.5 victory over Southern without benefit of a single individual championship, and didn't clinch it until the tournament's final bout. Had Southern's Robert Burley pinned Wilde Lake's heavyweight Cornel Johnson, Southern would have won the team title by 1.5 points.

*

Mr. Clutch. Kobie. Kobie. Kobie.

Oakland Mills won a state Class 3A boys basketball title, a highly difficult accomplishment that will rank in any year as one of the top stories.

Mr. Clutch was Kobie Morgan, a senior shooting guard whom the Scorpions went to over and over again in tight games down the stretch.

In the state semifinal, Morgan scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter in a 67-65 win over Elkton. He hit two free throws with the game tied 65-65 and seven seconds left and then made a big defensive play at the other end.

*

Unprecedented. Mind-boggling. Perfect.

Glenelg's Steve Johnson wasn't even a pitcher when the season began.

He was a catcher.

But when Glenelg came up short of pitching and necessity called, Johnson responded, pitching two straight no-hitters, one of them a perfect game. No one had pitched a perfect game in the county since 1963. No one ever had pitched back-to-back no-hitters in Maryland. A rarer accomplishment would be tough to find.

*

Strikeout King. Fast. Faster. Amazing.

Alex Pugliese set a state public school record by striking out 154 batters last spring. He did it in just 74 innings.

With a fastball clocked in the low 80s, Pugliese dominated the baseball scene, leading Atholton to a county title.

He threw a no-hitter and fanned 17 against Hammond. He pitched a one-hitter and fanned 14 against Oakland Mills.

*

Going. Going. Gone.

Lightning strikes twice.

Kristi Greer of Howard's girls soccer team kicked a 35-yard goal in sudden-death overtime to beat Middletown 3-2 at Howard High Oct. 1.

For the senior midfielder, or for any player, that kind of goal in such a tense situation would have been a career highlight.

But Greer made the exact same kind of shot in sudden death against Middletown the year before and Howard won that one, 1-0.

"It was a perfect kick," Middletown coach John Miller said. "There was nothing our goalie could do about it. She's something else."

*

Wham. Bam. The breakthrough game.

For years teams other than Oakland Mills and Centennial have tried to break into the elite top of the boys high school soccer world.

Howard made the move last year with Todd Haskins and was a highly rated team again this year.

That's why on Oct. 9, when Atholton held Howard scoreless into the 74th minute of a highly physical game, exciting the largest crowd of Raider soccer followers ever to watch their team, a peak moment was achieved.

Heavily favored Howard eventually won, 1-0.

"I think our team has come of age," Raiders coach Reg Hahne said.

Atholton went on to win the state Class 2A soccer championship, their first soccer title of any kind.

*

Adams family. Sibling rivals. Racing to the top.

When Kristina Adams won the county girls cross country championship at Howard Community College on Oct. 25, it represented four years of hard work that paid off.

The senior was one of several favorites, and it turned out that her chief rival was her freshman sister, Alicia, who finished second.

"My sister scared me to death," said Kristina, who broke the 20-minute mark for three miles for the first time. Kristina also went on to lead her team to the state Class 2A girls title by finishing second in that event.

*

Pinch me. Tell me it's really true. This was truly a miracle shot.

You'll never see a more exciting finish to a soccer game than this one.

With 11 seconds left to play in the state Class 2A semifinal game, Atholton's John Walter booted a desperation knuckleball shot that went in.

The Raiders then tied Gywnn Park 1-1 Nov. 10 at Quince Orchard High School.

The Raiders, the eventual state champs, then won in a shootout after two 10-minute scoreless sudden death overtime periods failed to end it.

*

Right place. Right time.

After moving from midfield to forward, Malcolm Gillian scored 18 goals in Oakland Mills' final 10 soccer games. The Scorpions won them all, including the Class 3A state championship game.

Gillian played his magic act over and over again, getting six game-winning goals, including both goals in 1-0 wins over top contenders Centennial and Howard.

He didn't pull any rabbits out of hats, but he scored hat tricks -- three goals -- three times, including the state championship game. In the playoffs, he scored nine of his team's 12 goals and assisted twice.

He showed an uncanny ability to be in the right place and to finish a scoring sequence.

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