Wilde Lake rallies by Snow Hill, 69-68

March 12, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Smiling heroes stood in every corner of Wilde Lake's locker room after the Wildecats' 69-68 come-from-behind victory over Snow Hill in a state Class 1A boys semifinal yesterday at Cole Field House.

Wilde Lake point guard Terence Butler made a steal from Eagles point guard Terrance Palmer near half-court with two seconds left to preserve the victory.

"They reached in, but the refs weren't going to call anything that late in the game," said Snow Hill coach Allen Miller. "I guess it was a clean strip."

Another Wilde Lake hero, Seth Willingham, missed a one-and-one with eight seconds left, but with three seconds left gave a crucial foul near half-court to stop a Snow Hill fast break that looked destined to end in a game-winning layup.

"I knew we had a foul to give before going into the bonus and I knew with Palmer running the play they'd get a layup," said Willingham, who scored 20 points and had six rebounds.

Wilde Lake plays top-seeded Milford Mill in the finals at 1 p.m. today.

Carl Jackson (11 points, eight rebounds), Wilde Lake's 6-foot-7, 250-pound sophomore center, blocked eight shots and intimidated Snow Hill into shooting only 39 percent -- below its season average of 46 percent.

"We had never faced a team this big, and they did a lot inside," Miller said. "We were scared."

Sule Carpenter, Wilde Lake's 6-6 senior forward, also had a good game with 10 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. He made a critical steal with 46 seconds left and Wilde Lake leading 69-68.

The least likely hero was Wilde Lake junior guard Brian Sterling (16 points), who played more than he had in any game this season.

Sterling, who averages 2.8 points, came off the bench midway through the first quarter as Snow Hill was dominating and made three jumpers, including a controversial three-pointer at the buzzer.

"He was still holding the ball when the buzzer went off," Miller said.

That three-pointer pulled Wilde Lake to 22-14 after a quarter and ended a seven-point Snow Hill run that had given the Eagles a 22-11 lead.

"I was in a zone," Sterling said. "I didn't feel any pressure at all. I felt before the game that I had it, but I never had the slightest dream I'd do this. I don't have the words to describe it."

Palmer led second-seeded Snow Hill (23-3) with 18 points and led a comeback in the last 1:38 that nearly won it for the Worcester County school.

Third-seeded Wilde Lake (14-10) had gone up 68-61 on two free throws by Sterling.

Damon Powell made a three-pointer for Snow Hill at 1:26. Then Wilde Lake turned it over with a bad pass by Sterling.

Palmer scored on a layup to cut it to 68-66, but with 1:13 left Willingham made a free throw. It was 69-66.

Palmer scored off a rebound with 59 seconds left to make it 69-68, ending the scoring.

Wilde Lake, a 56-percent free-throw shooting team, missed three one-and-ones in the final 59 seconds and twice turned it over on travel violations.

But Jackson and Willingham blocked shots, Carpenter made a steal and two Snow Hill starters -- Harold Victor (14 points) and Chris Morris (11 points) -- fouled out in the final 30 seconds.

"Palmer was a great player for them,," Jackson said. "Once we started playing two men on him our defense made the difference in the second half."

Wilde Lake coach Paul Ellis said, "We were hurrying in the first half and Snow Hill took advantage of its speed.

"It was a tense, tense, tense final 30 seconds."

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