Sometimes it doesn't pay to foul an inexperienced sophomore with thegame on the line.
Wilde Lake learned that lesson again in their "Yellow Submarine" Friday night, as Hammond's Kris Jefferson sank two free throws with seven seconds left to snap the Wildecats' seven-gamewinning streak and knock them out of first place.
On Jan. 16, Jefferson had made two free throws late in the game with Hammond ahead by two points to clinch a victory over Wilde Lake, 70-63.
"They were yelling 'Foul the sophomore,' " Jefferson (11 points) said. "They had yelled the same thing the first time we played."
Jefferson's first shot rolled off the rim and hit the backboard before going in. "I yelled 'Thank you, God,' " Jefferson said. Then he swished the second shot giving the Golden Bears a 71-70 lead.
Wilde Lake (10-8 overall, 7-3 league) called time with seven seconds left, worked the ball to midcourt and called time again.
On the inbounds play, top offensive threat Joe Guyton (25 points) broke open at the top of the circle, but another Kyle Jefferson, Kris' brother, stole the pass. He dribbled the other way and threw up a shot thinking time had run out.
The ball bounced out of bounds with one second left, but Wilde Lake was unable to get off a last shot.
"I played defensive back in football and it was just like a drill we used to do where you step up and intercept the pass," Kyle Jefferson said about his key play.
Kyle, a senior who is the heart of the team, played adynamic all-around game. He shot 9-for-13 from the floor, scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He averages 22 points per game and always seems to make the big play when the Bears need it.
"It's tough to win at Wilde Lake, and they had a lot of height inside," Kyle said. "Both teams played well."
Guyton was the driving force for Wilde Lake, using his quickness to penetrate and his outstanding shooting touch to convert jumpers. He hit one three-pointer.
He scored 13points in the fourth quarter, and his exciting steal and layup with 1 minute, 14 seconds left to play put Wilde Lake ahead, 69-65. He hadscored off a backdoor layup breaking a 65-65 tie.
Wildecats pointguard Jason Freidman stole the ball with 1:03 to play and made one free throw for a 70-65 Wildecats' lead.
Karl Williams (six points) scored off a crucial rebound for Hammond with 42 seconds left making it a 70-67 game.
Phil Chenier (11 points) then missed a one-and-one for Wilde Lake with 35 seconds left.
Hammond (10-7, 7-3) rebounded and came down the court and James Grant (13 points) launched a three-pointer that missed. He grabbed the rebound and put it in, however, making it 70-69 with 20 seconds left.
Wilde Lake got a fast break going and Guyton was fouled trying to put back a rebound. But he missed both shots, setting the stage for the Hammond victory.
"This had to be one of the best-played games in the county this year," Hammond coach Jack Burke said. "Our defense still has a way to go, but both teams left everything they had out there on the floor. Wilde Lake is a fine team."
The game was nip-and-tuck all the way, and Hammond's bench helped, especially Andrew Teteh (seven points) and Mike Sanders (three points).
Shooting guard Adam Walker chipped in with 11points for Hammond, which has now won five straight games.
Wilde Lake was the second league-leading team Hammond knocked off in three days, having beaten Mount Hebron, 73-67, Wednesday.
Adam Tyer (14 points) played another solid game inside for Wilde Lake and has been a big part of their recent hot streak. Randy Miller (10 points) also played well.
A 9-for-20 night at the foul line cost Wilde Lake dearly. Hammond was 10-for-15 at the line.
Wilde Lake's heart-breaking loss combined with Oakland Mills' 64-62 win over Atholton on a tip-in by Gregg Washington with two seconds left, leaves the Scorpions alone in first place. Wilde Lake and Hammond are tied for second place.