Wilde Lake is the hottest boys basketball team in the league right now. And with a share of first place at stake, the Wildecats were not to be denied Friday night.
The Wildecats knocked off league-leading Mount Hebron in the Yellow Submarine at Wilde Lake, 75-64, to move into a tie for first place with the Vikings. Both teams are 6-2 in league play and 9-7 overall.
In winning their sixth straight game, the Wildecats wasted no time showing the disciplined Vikings that they were in for a tough night.
Wilde Lake went up 14-6, led by three Adam Tyer baskets. Tyer (13 points) has been a major factor in Wilde Lake's resurgence, and he played a tough game against Mount Hebron's star center Mark Jantac.
Jantac led all Viking scorers with 20 points in a fierce effort off the boards, but the Vikings shot poorly as a team, making just 24-for-72 (33 percent) from the floor.
"Jantac is a real force," Wilde Lake coach Jerry Keith said. "But I thought the key to the game was our half-court defense. We sagged off (Derrick) Dorsey, inviting him to shoot outside, and he didn't hurt us."
Dorsey, who is skilled at getting in close, scored 15 points but found the going inside extremely tough. He did manage to penetrate and score a couple of times in heavy traffic and picked up a couple of fouls inside.
But Mount Hebron desperately needed someone to score from outside and just didn't get it Friday. One of the Vikings' best outside shooters, Bobby Sites, hit one three-pointer but did not have a good shooting night.
After hitting his three-pointer early in the second half, Sites didn't score again and finished with just six points before fouling out with two minutes to play.
Mount Hebron got 14 points from former Wilde Lake player Andre Johnson, who had no happy homecoming. Johnson was pounded when he tried to penetrate but did score on some nifty inside moves.
A 7-2 run by Mount Hebron at theend of the first quarter sliced Wilde Lake's lead to three points, 16-13.
And Jantac opened the second quarter with a three-point play, tying the game at 16-all.
In that second quarter it looked for a while as though Mount Hebron might gain the upper hand. The Vikings went up, 27-23, on a three-point play by Dorsey.
But Wilde Lake's Joe Guyton (15 points) sank a baseline jumper and Phil Chenier(22 points) hit from outside to tie it, at 27-all, with 58 seconds left in the first half.
A tap-in by Johnson at the buzzer put Wilde Lake ahead at halftime, 30-29.
The 'Cats were lucky to stay close: They shot horrendously in the second quarter, hitting just 5-for-17 and missing 10 straight shots at one point.
But Wilde Lake went on a 14-5 run to start the third quarter.
Chenier startedit off with a fast-break layup, and Tyer powered a basket inside fora 34-29 lead.
Jumpers by Guyton and Randy Miller and six free throws put the 'Cats up, 44-34.
Mount Hebron did make a small run late in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to six points, 65-59, with 2:06 left to play.
Two inside moves by Jantac and an outside shot by Chris Vissers accounted for six points in the 8-2 run. Twofree throws by Dorsey made it 65-59.
But Chenier made a three-point play by rebounding a missed free throw, and that iced it.
Mount Hebron Coach Chuck Moninger argued to no avail that Chenier had jumped into the lane too soon on the play.
"What has turned this team around is attitude," Chenier said. "Everyone's pitching in, guys are playing hard coming off the bench and pumping us up."
Chenier had nothing but praise for Mount Hebron. "They are a well-coached, hustling team that takes good shots and makes the best picks in the league," he said.
Wilde Lake had a mediocre shooting night, making just 25-for-62 (40 percent). The team was 23-for-33 at the foul line, while Mount Hebron was 15-for-26.
Wilde Lake faces Centennial and Hammond this week, and Mount Hebron takes on Hammond and Howard.