Hebron adds guard, finds winning chemistry Vikings get hot with new lineup

January 17, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Before the county's boys basketball schedule began, the league appeared to be headed for one of its most competitive seasons ever. Judging by the first two nights of action, those expectations were not unfounded.

Of the first eight league games, only Glenelg's 75-59 defeat of Hammond on Wednesday could be called a rout. The rest of the contests were not decided until the game's final minutes, and several came down to the final seconds. The widest margin of victory was seven points.

There already have been two overtime games, both resulting in losses for Wilde Lake. And Mount Hebron needed a buzzer-beating shot to edge Centennial, 62-60.

"It's going to be like this the whole year," Hebron coach Scott Robinson said. "Every night is going to be a test."

Robinson, last season's Coach of the Year, is passing a test of his own. Four games into the season, Hebron was 2-2 and had blown a big lead in a loss to Severn which exposed the Vikings' need for a true point guard to handle pressure defenses.

On top of that, Robinson later dismissed senior Masai Demus from the team for disciplinary reasons, a decision that cost Hebron one of its top defensive players and its best athlete.

All those problems didn't stop the Vikings from winning their next five games to improve to 7-3 and move into the Baltimore Sun's Top 20.

Robinson has gone to a three-guard alignment, featuring Faisal Khan, Kurtis Jestes and Lester Dorsey. Khan has been the primary point guard, and he has averaged six assists through the first two county games. Jestes, who struggled offensively in the beginning of the season, has come on to average 18 points against the county, and he committed only two turnovers in the first two league games.

Guards Mark Jensen and Todd Petrlik, who played sparingly in December, have increased their playing time and they've done well off the bench.

The frontcourt tandem of Phil Tonkins and Eric Walthall also has produced. Walthall has given the Vikings solid minutes from the beginning. Tonkins, after an inconsistent start, has become a dependable scorer. He is averaging 13.0 points.

"The main thing is that the chemistry is better," Robinson said. "The kids know that every game is a battle, and they are enjoying it."

Wildecats going backward

Wilde Lake's boys team is not having much fun these days. Despite having enough talent to challenge for the county championship, the Wildecats are moving backward. They dropped their second overtime decision in two county games to Centennial on Wednesday to fall to 4-5.

The Wildecats' main problem is poor defensive fundamentals. They are averaging 37.3 rebounds, but the offensive-defensive breakdown is startling. The Wildecats are grabbing an impressive 17.7 offensive rebounds per game, but a lackluster 19.7 at the defensive end.

In other words, Wilde Lake is showing admirable tenacity by scoring on "garbage baskets" off offensive rebounds. Defensively, however, the Wildecats are returning the favor by giving opponents too many chances to score. "We're giving up second, third, fourth and fifth shots sometimes," Ellis said. "The other thing is, we're playing such poor defense that too many shots are going in, and you can't get rebounds from those."

Ellis has a point. Besides the lack of rebounding, the Wildecats' defense has given opponents too many wide-open shots. That helps explain how Pallotti's Mike Doyle scored 45 points last month in a 71-66 victory over Wilde Lake, and how Oakland Mills' Michael Hill lit up the Wildecats for 39 points last week in an 83-82 double-overtime victory.

Coaching vacancies

Here are some coaching vacancies at the county's high schools:

Atholton needs a girls varsity lacrosse coach. Call 410-313-7080 for details.

Mount Hebron needs coaches for varsity softball, boys and girls track. Call 410-313-2885.

Howard needs a varsity baseball coach. Call 410-313-2874.

Oakland Mills needs varsity coaches for boys and girls lacrosse. Call 410-313-6953.

Wilde Lake needs varsity coaches for boys lacrosse, softball, boys and girls track. Call 410-313-6973.

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