Wilde Lake collects its first state trophy 1A GIRLS BASKETBALL

March 12, 1995|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

With five talented freshmen on the roster, No. 15 Wilde Lake was supposed to be Howard County's team of the future.

Well, the future is now.

With big contributions from three of the freshmen, the Wildecats (17-7) defeated Southern of Garrett County, 56-46, for the third time this year to win their first Class 1A state championship last night at UMBC.

Wilde Lake's title gave Howard County two state champions for the second straight year. Hammond had defended its Class 2A title earlier.

To Southern coach Don Stemple, the competition the Wildecats have faced since they met in December made all the difference.

"We've had some tough games but nothing like Wilde Lake faces in that Howard County league," said Stemple. "It's competitive and every night they go out, they have to play their guts out. It seemed like Wilde Lake got a lot quicker and stronger about everything."

That time also gave the Wildecats' freshmen, especially twin guards Toni and Lashon White, time to grow into the game plan. Last night, the two combined for 19 points and played tremendous defense.

In the Wildecats' first two meetings with the Rams (19-6), senior guard Kristen Riismandel scored 27 and 20 points. Last night, she had 17, but the Rams had too much trouble trying to stop all three.

Through three quarters, the lead went back and forth, but Wilde Lake struck quickly with its press in the last 10 seconds of the third quarter.

Defender Bridget White, another freshman not related to the twins, picked off a Southern pass right under the Wildecats' basket and hit the layup with her back to the boards. Toni White followed with a quick steal and drove for a buzzer-beater to put Wilde Lake ahead, 36-34.

Early in the final quarter, Lashon White scored six points in a seven-point run that gave the Wildecats the lead for good, 43-36.

Southern pulled within five on Alisa Ruggs' short jumper, but the Rams could get no closer. Riismandel and Toni White fed each other for three-pointers for Wilde Lake's biggest lead of the game, 49-38, with 2:52 left.

Despite the offensive spurts, the Wildecats can chalk this one up to the defense. Instead of the 2-1-2 zone she showed Southern in December, coach Kelly Storr used a 1-3-1 and a 1-2-2 and added the press.

The switches really threw the Rams out of their offense, especially late in the game.

"We were expecting [the press] to start the third quarter and it wasn't there," said Stemple. "I think she just held it back for the knock-out punch and it was a heck of a move, because we got used to, 'Oh boy, there's no pressure now,' and all a sudden there it was and we weren't ready for it."

The Wildecats also did a fine job on Southern's big gun Emily Friend. Although 5-10 Friend scored 18, she was never really a factor inside. Wilde Lake forwards Anika Middleton and Adrean Mabry controlled the boards, combining for 21 rebounds. The entire Rams team had 28.

In the final seconds of the game, Storr was looking ahead with all five freshmen on the floor.

"It's a great feeling to look out there and think that's my future right there," said Storr, whose team loses only seniors Riismandel, Middleton and Krista Entrop as it moves up to Class 2A next year.

"This is the way we wanted to end it in 1A," said the fourth-year coach. "We're looking forward to 2A. It's going to be a step up and we're going to have to take that step. We've been playing 3As and 2As all along and taking our bumps and bruises. Now it's time for us to give some out."

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