Willingham helps Wilde Lake eliminate Forestville, 86-53

March 05, 1994|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Special to The Sun

Wilde Lake senior Seth Willingham scored 31 points and added 12 rebounds in three quarters to guide host Wilde Lake past Forestville of Prince George's County, 86-53, last night in a Class 1A South Region semifinal .

Wilde Lake will play host to the Catoctin-Brunswick winner in the Class 1A South Region final tonight at 7. Forestville's season ends at 9-12.

Circumstances did not seem to favor Wilde Lake. The Wildecats (12-10), after a week off from concluding the regular season, had entered the state playoffs by losing two of their last three games, costing them at least a share of its first Howard County basketball title since 1978.

Forestville, which lost its last nine regular-season games, came into the semifinal having handed Smithsburg a 24-point quarterfinal loss earlier in the week as 6-5 sophomore sensation Joe Lofton scored 31 points and hauled down 21 rebounds.

But Willingham made sure it didn't matter.

"All afternoon in gym class I was hitting my shot and it continued in warm-ups before the game," said Willingham, a 39-percent field-goal shooter who finished 11 of 14 from the field with six three-pointers in seven attempts.

As Willingham goes, so goes Wilde Lake. After an 0-2 start this season, the Wildecats were 10-0 in the regular season when Wilde Lake's 6-3 senior forward scored 18 or more points. When the opposition held Willingham to fewer than 18, Wilde Lake posted a telling 1-8 mark.

"Terrence Butler made my job real easy tonight by driving inside their defense and then kicking it back out to me for the open jumper," Willingham said of the Wildecats senior point guard (nine points, nine assists).

While Willingham scored 23 first-half points, Wilde Lake's 6-6 sophomore center Carl Jackson neutralized Forestville's Lofton (24 ppg, 15 rpg) by holding the Knights' 6-5 center to seven first-half points, blocking five first-quarter shots and adding five rebounds.

"By Carl and Sule Carpenter staying out of foul trouble we were able to control the low post," Willingham said. "I noticed early on Forestville was changing their shots when they drove down the lane."

After Carpenter (12 points) scored two quick baskets for a 4-0 Wilde Lake lead to start the game, the rest of the first quarter offensively belonged to Willingham. Wilde Lake's leading scorer (17.9 ppg) converted four three-pointers, a jumper and two free throws to finish with 16 points in the first eight minutes, giving the Wildecats a 22-6 advantage.

With Wilde Lake's Jackson on the bench to start the second quarter, Lofton (12 points, nine rebounds) scored five to help pull the Knights within 24-16. Willingham, however, scored seven of his own and Wilde Lake carried a 41-25 lead into halftime.

Wilde Lake coach Paul Ellis spent much of the second half working his bench into the game while pleading to his players not to foul in order to run the clock out.

Wilde Lake's senior forward Chenier DeVillasee (13 points) and zTC junior guard Will Edison converted 11 of 17 free throws as the Wildecats made 16 of 27 for the quarter while making just one of six field-goal attempts.

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