Howard shifts, tops Wilde Lake, 53-42 Girls basketball

February 18, 1993|By Michael Richman | Michael Richman,Contributing Writer

Howard girls basketball coach Craig O'Connell made an unconventional decision at halftime yesterday against Wilde Lake. Coaching a team that relies on constant man-to-man pressure, O'Connell opted to go zone. The choice worked.

The Lions went to a 2-3 zone, stretching a 24-23 halftime lead to 14 points after three periods en route to a 53-42 Howard County victory on the road. No. 13 Howard limited the Wildecats to two third-quarter points on 1-for-12 shooting.

"We don't like to play zone. I want to play man-to-man all the time," O'Connell said. "But we went to a 2-3 because they were hitting from the baseline. They never did solve the zone."

The teams entered the game tied for third place in the county. Howard (13-5, 7-3) now is in third alone behind No. 3 Mount Hebron and No. 4 Hammond.

Both teams are basically assured playoff spots in their respective classifications: Howard (Class 3A, Region III) and Wilde Lake (Class 1A, Region II). They each have four county games left, including Mount Hebron and Hammond.

"We're in a very difficult league, and I'm not embarrassed to wind up in third place," said O'Connell, whose team has beaten Wilde Lake (9-6, 6-4) twice this season by a total of 28 points.

Howard was paced by guards Sharon Ford and Emily Moore. Ford, a senior captain and the team's leading scorer, had a game-high 20 points, and Moore, a junior, had 13. Ford scored 12 second-half points, as Howard pulled away.

In the first half, both teams relied on up-tempo intensity, which resulted in a sloppy beginning. Howard had 20 first-half turnovers to Wilde Lake's 16.

As Wilde Lake built a 13-9 first-period lead, senior Tracy Stefan scored nine points. Then, sophomore Kristen Riismandel scored to put the Wildecats ahead 15-9 just into the second period. But Mona Jackson led a Lions comeback with five of her eight first-half points, and Ford's layup capped a 7-0 run for a 16-15 Howard edge.

After the Wildecats tied it at 16, the teams swapped 6-2 (Howard) and 5-0 (Wilde Lake) runs for a one-point halftime difference.

The Lions dominated the third quarter. With the sagging zone, they eliminated the baseline shot, which Wilde Lake used effectively in the first 16 minutes.

Howard claimed a 15-2 edge in scoring and forced nine turnovers, resulting in quick transition points. The aggressive Lions also out-rebounded Wilde Lake, 13-6, part of a 47-25 overall pasting on the boards.

The Wildecats came no closer than 12 points in the final period.

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