Before last night's game against Wilde Lake, South Carroll coach Al Skierski lamented that his team had not been shooting well. In the first quarter, however, it was the Wildecats who couldn't buy a basket.
The No. 12-ranked Cavaliers ran up a 14-4 lead over No. 18 Wilde Lake and held on for a 52-41 victory last night at Wilde Lake's River Hill gym.
"That first quarter when we shot out to the lead gave us a good impetus," said Skierski. "The girls got some confidence, and then it was kind of nip and tuck the rest of the way. Our weak shooting let them get back in."
The Cavaliers (3-1) shot 35 percent for the game, but the Wildecats only hit for 23 percent.
"We were just cold, cold as ice and we couldn't put anything in," said Wildecats coach Kelly Storr, whose team hit just two of 19 first-quarter shots.
"It's not like some of the girls who go up and miss layups. We make those little layups, and tonight, we were missing them."
However, the Wildecats (3-1) did rebound to pull within one at 27-26 midway through the third quarter.
A defensive spark from aggressive freshman Bridget White off the bench sparked a nine-point Wildecats' run midway through the second quarter.
White's 14-footer and Kristen Riismandel's free throws brought the Wildecats within 18-13.
Then the Wildecats made their big run. Early in the third quarter they gave the Cavaliers a lot of trouble with their press.
"I think it took them by surprise," said Riismandel, who scored 18 points. "A lot of teams just come out and press right away. We started wanting the ball more and went for it."
Riismandel's three-point play started the rally. White added a follow shot and Krista Entrop, a free throw to get within 25-22 with 5:32 left in the third quarter.
On the next play, the Cavaliers easily broke the press as Melissa Gettemy found Ce Wagener wide open underneath for the easy two points.
But the Cavaliers turned the ball over on their next two possessions and the Wildecats took advantage.
Riismandel hit a short jumper and White fed Entrop for a turn-around on the baseline. That cut the lead to 27-26 with 4:32 left in the quarter.
Amber Clutter (14 points) fed Gettemy for a 12-footer and the Cavaliers picked off the next seven rebounds to snap the Wildecats' momentum.
Nicole Spencer (14 points, seven rebounds), Wagener (13 points, seven rebounds) and Erin Nauyalis scored unanswered baskets to boost the Cavaliers' lead to 35-26.
The Wildecats got within four on Anika Middleton's short jumper early in the fourth quarter, but the Cavaliers started pulling away after that.
For South Carroll, this marked the third win in four games against Howard County teams.
The Cavaliers also have beaten Atholton and No. 19 Glenelg after falling to No. 3 Hammond, 53-46, in the season opener.
Their swing through Howard County ends next week with No. 6 Howard on Monday and Centennial Wednesday.
"I like playing the Howard County teams," said Clutter. "It's more of a fast-paced game than we play in Carroll County. It's more aggressive, too. It's good practice for us to get ready for our Carroll County teams."