Wildecats rebound for title

March 06, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Sophomore Carl Jackson proved once again why has teammates call him "Baby Shaq."

The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Jackson (21 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks), who sat out most of the second quarter in foul trouble, rallied his Wilde Lake teammates to a 70-64 victory over Catoctin in the Class 1A South regional championship game last night.

The Wildecats will play in the state semifinal at Cole Field House Friday. It will be their fifth appearance in the final four and first since 1991. Wilde Lake won a state title in 1985.

Jackson scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the second half. Wilde Lake, which trailed by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, was behind 42-36 at halftime.

"We knew we hadn't played well in the first half but were still in the game and that if our big men played well in the second half we would still win," said Seth Willingham (12 points, eight rebounds), Wilde Lake's top scorer this season. "Carl took over and won it for us."

Jackson said: "I was angry at halftime because I hadn't played well and knew I could take the low post because they didn't have anyone who could stick me. I really wanted to play at Cole Field House."

Catoctin stretched its lead to 44-36 to start the third quarter. Sule Carpenter (18 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) scored on a layup for Wilde Lake (13-10) making it 44-38.

Then Jackson scored three straight baskets on inside moves to tie it at 44 with 2:55 left in the quarter. It was 50-50 at the end of the quarter.

Jackson scored on a drive and converted a three-point play, giving the Wildecats a 53-50 lead.

Catoctin (10-12) tied it at 53 but Carpenter scored two straight baskets inside to make it 57-53.

After Catoctin's Gene Sweeney (15 points) made it 57-55, Jackson again took control with three straight baskets inside and it was 63-56.

Willingham sank a three-pointer to make it 66-56 with four minutes left and the Wildecats hung on from there.

Another key to Wilde Lake's second-half success was stopping Catoctin's Tony Mennito, who averaged 28 points per game. He scored 19 in the first half, but only five in the second half.

"Wilde Lake controlled the boards and stopped our running game in the second half because they got their two big guys [Jackson and Carpenter] more involved," Catoctin coach Dennis Crockett said.

"Our biggest kid was 6-3. I'm pleased we had a shot to win. We did everything we could."

L Catoctin sank six three-point baskets to one for Wilde Lake.

Catoctin, whose biggest achievement was ending a 68-game losing streak the second game of the season, shot 16-for-28 from the floor in the first half, but was only seven-for-27 in the second half.

Wilde Lake made 15 of 37 first-half shots and was 14-for-30 in the second half.

"This was the last game ever to be played in this gym because they are tearing down the school after this year," Jackson said. "So that meant a lot to me to win this game, too.

"Our team has worked hard and come a long way since we lost our first five games and I'm real happy to be a part of it. This game could have gone either way."

Carpenter said: "In the first half it seemed like the game was

getting out of control with their running game, but in the second half we played at our tempo."

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