Case comes back strong for Howard Return as starter beefs up Lions

February 14, 1993|By Michael Richman | Michael Richman,Contributing Writer

It irks Howard basketball coach Kevin Broadus to see Dwight Case, a 6-foot-2 Lions pivotman, play out of control.

"Don't fade away, Dwight," Broadus yelled as Case launched an off-balance jumper that caromed off the basket during Howard's 59-55 loss to Oakland Mills on Wednesday.

Case's reaction was swift. Only minutes later, he yanked an offensive rebound with authority, scored going strong to the basket and was fouled. The muscular center/forward showed why he is perhaps Howard County's best player in the paint.

"When Dwight gets the ball inside the paint, I haven't seen anybody in the county that can stop him," Broadus, a first-year coach, said. "Offensively and defensively, he's the strongest post player in the county. If he gets the ball down low and goes up straight, that's usually a score for us."

Through 17 games, with Howard 7-10 and its county championship hopes sputtering at 4-5, Case has posted modest numbers. The senior is second in team points (7.7) and rebounds (5.7) behind junior forward Javier Michaux and third in blocks (1.1) after Michaux and senior forward Jeremy Milam, respectively.

Case started the season's first seven games. But after the seventh game -- a 13-point loss to Glenelg in the Liberty Belle Tournament -- "he got down on himself," said Broadus, who played him in reserve for the next seven.

"I fell off track during practices and not focusing on what I need to do," Case said. "I wasn't playing a role as a team leader or as a team ballplayer. I only worried about points and leaned on myself for making mistakes."

Now back with a clear mind, Case resumed the starting role against Hammond on Feb. 3. Two days later, he had 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in the Lions' 57-54 upset of No. 20 Glenelg.

Before the four-point loss to Oakland Mills, Howard was still in the running for the county title. The Lions held second place behind Glenelg, Centennial (No. 19), Hammond and Oakland Mills. However, Scorpions coach Dave Appleby orchestrated a plan to limit the inside effectiveness of the Michaux-Case-Milam trio, Howard's bread and butter.

Michaux scored a game-high 25 points, most in a ferocious second-half comeback that fell short. But Milam and Case contributed a quiet 10 and four, respectively.

"For us to win, I must be a threat on the boards," said Case, who grabbed six against Oakland Mills. "I like when the guards shoot it and I'llgo inside and work on the boards."

On offense, Broadus prefers to station Michaux and Case at opposite low posts. Then, if the 6-3 Michaux is double- or triple-teamed, Case is positioned to rebound, follow up and score.

Michaux, one of the county's leaders in scoring (18.0 average) and rebounding (9.4), said: "[Case] comes to play physically every game. But if he doesn't want to play, it'll rub off on the rest of us."

Case 190 pounds, has excellent athletic ability. With a 24-inch vertical leap, one of the county's best, he's able to exhibit a little showtime with emphatic one- or two-handed slam dunks, which said Broadus, "he loves to do."

Case describes himself as "a force in the middle." He sees Oakland Mills sophomore Michael Hill and Wilde Lake seniors Taronn Evans and Deonne Wingfield as county competitors he fears the most in the paint.

Still, Case is threatening in his own right. An imposing presence with a knack for intimidating opponents, he's integral to the Lions' fortunes.

"I try to take people out of their game," Case said. "I tell them, 'Don't come in my territory, the paint is my house.' Sometimes, they won't attempt to come to my side again. They'll stop short and shoot it."

Broadus isn't a tremendous fan of talking trash.

"I tell him, instead of talking, play the game," Broadus said. "It's all right to talk some. But if he does it too much, the refs might call a technical foul. The only person on this team that's

supposed to get a technical is me."

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