Glenelg's boys basketball team either ran at full speed or stood still at Wilde Lake Friday night. And the Gladiators, who turned a 49-35halftime deficit into a stunning, 92-79 victory, were deadly at bothgames.
The Gladiators, who love an up-tempo pace, took advantage of Wilde Lake's impatient, second-half play by scoring numerous baskets off their fast break. But this victory should be remembered as a game the Wildecats watched Glenelg seize at the free-throw line.
Glenelg sank 34 of 51 foul shots, including 33 of 46 in the second half as part of a 57-point performance after intermission. The Wildecats, who managed only 30 points after halftime, made only nine trips to the foul line all night. They converted seven.
The disparity wasn't lost on Wilde Lake coach Paul Ellis. In the final seconds of the third period -- a quarter in which Glenelg made 15 of 21 free throws while the Wildecats had only two attempts -- he screamed at an official after a Glenelg player was not whistled for a foul, despite grabbing Wilde Lake's George Bradford during a loose-ball scuffle. Ellis' explosion was greeted by a technical foul.
"It seems strange," said Ellis after the game. "Both of us were playing man-to-man defenseall night. I can't believe it (foul shooting) was that lopsided. I deserved it (the technical). When no call was made on that blatant foul, that was the straw that broke the camel's back."
It may have broken the Wildecats as well. Glenelg's Jeff Slack promptly sank a freethrow to tie the game at 62 to end the quarter. From there, Glenelg scored the first nine points of the fourth period to take a 71-62 lead, and the Gladiators never looked back.
When Wilde Lake was forced to foul during the final three minutes to put the Gladiators on thefoul line, Glenelg responded by making 11 of 16 free throws, all in one-and-one situations.
"We didn't lose because of the referees," said Ellis, whose Wildecats didn't shoot a one-and-one until 42 seconds remained. "It was the fact that we didn't run any offense in the second half. We made only two passes max, then shot the ball. We were very undisciplined, and that's my fault. Glenelg played well. They hustled all night, and you can't take that away from them."
Glenelg's Scott Cline led all scorers with 25 points (7-for-10 at the foul line). Slack scored 21 on 11-for-15 free-throw shooting. Jason Beall added 16, including six of nine free throws. Jamie Brinker scored all eight of his points at the line.
Bradford led Wilde Lake with 19 points. Tavonne Evans added 12. Dean Wingfield scored 10.
The Wildecats (7-9 overall, 5-5 league) appeared ready to run away from Glenelgearly. Wilde Lake, which has struggled offensively for much of the year, came out with a hot shooting hand and turned in its most productive half in two years under Ellis. Ten Wildecats scored in the first half, as three different players hit three-pointers.
"Wilde Lake shot the lights out in the first half, but the momentum was all ours in the second half," said Glenelg coach Terry Coleman, whose Gladiators (10-8, 5-5) pulled into a third-place tie with the Wildecats.
"Once our kids get the taste of a steal or a turnover, they get hungry.And we've made more foul shots than our opponents have taken all year."