Jason Beall scored 29 points and his Glenelg teammates filled in with contributions in every phase of the game, as the visiting Gladiators took control of Wilde Lake with a superb third quarter, then cruised to a 78-63 victory last night.
The Gladiators (10-2, 3-1), having just concluded their best first half of a season under 12-year coach Terry Coleman, turned in another top-notch effort.
Beall, who entered the game as the county's leading scorer, showed why. After scoring 10 points and hitting two three-pointers to help Glenelg forge a 40-35 halftime lead, Beall torched the Wildecats for 19 points after intermission. He was 5-for-5 at the foul line, and added three steals and three assists.
Scott Cline scored 23 points for Glenelg, including 13 in the first half. Point guard Jamie Brinker had six points and eight assists. Jeff Lewis, who battled the flu as well as the Wildecats, scored 11.
For Wilde Lake (5-6, 1-3), it was another mystifying evening. Despite having talent that draws rave reviews across the county -- three players scored in double figures last night -- the taller, quicker Wildecats once again were dominated in the fundamental areas.
When Wilde Lake chose to force Glenelg to shoot from the outside by playing a 2-3 zone defense, the Gladiators made their perimeter shots, but also worked the ball inside successfully.
When the Wildecats went more to man-to-man alignments and full-court pressure in the second half, Glenelg solved them easily. When the Wildecats failed to hustle back on defense, the Gladiators beat them in transition. And when the Wildecats found themselves out of position on defense, the Gladiators made them pay by creating 27 foul shots and hitting 22.
The Wildecats' offense wasn't much better. They lacked patience, took their share of questionable shots and committed 27 turnovers against Glenelg's disciplined defense. The Wildecats' frustration showed during a fourth-quarter timeout, when several players argued on the bench.
"I feel nothing but total embarrassment after this game," said Wilde Lake coach Paul Ellis. "They didn't play well, and I didn't coach them well. I'm doing some introspective thinking. We've got a problem. The only statistics that matter for us right now are our attitude and lack of enthusiasm. I take full responsibility for this debacle."
Glenelg coach Terry Coleman sang a dramatically different tune.
"We've got great chemistry. They hit their shots, they hit the open man, they play basketball the way it's supposed to be played," Coleman said. "It's very satisfying to watch them play the way they are capable of playing. He [Ellis] has got to be pulling his hair out over there, with the talent they have."
Early on, the game looked like a down-to-the-wire affair. After the lead changed hands nine times, the first period ended in a 19-19 tie.
The Wildecats then opened with a 10-6 run in the second quarter, as a baseline jumper by Taronn Evans (15 points) gave Wilde Lake a 29-25 lead with a little more than three minutes left in the half. But Glenelg erased that momentum in a hurry.
First, Cline hit his second three-point shot of the quarter. Then Lewis converted a three-point play. Then, after a layup by Beall, Cline made another layup and completed a three-point play to give Glenelg a 36-29 lead with 1:55 left.
The Gladiators took the Wildecats apart in the third quarter, outscoring them 22-9. They scored the first seven points to increase their advantage to 47-35 at the 5:54 mark, then saw Beall put on a show. He scored 11 of the next 13 Glenelg points.