Wildecats stay cautious after bashing Potomac Rugged Central next foe for peaking Wilde Lake

February 28, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Jeremy Young was as happy as any Wilde Lake player after last night's 86-57 romp over visiting Potomac in a Class 2A South region quarterfinal game.

He also was realistic.

"This is great, but we have to come down to earth," said Young, who finished with 15 points. "We just won the second round. There are more games to go. We have to realize where we are."

The Wildcats (11-11), at .500 for the first time since late December, will play host to Central of Prince George's County, ranked 11th in the Washington Post, tomorrow. Central (20-3) got 26 points from junior forward Kershaw Frager in its 83-66 win last night over Great Mills.

Central will be a formidable opponent, but Wilde Lake has peaked at the right time, winning seven of its last nine games. Against Potomac (3-18), the Wildecats played excellent defense and shot well, making six three-point baskets.

"The last two games we've played exceptionally well," said Wilde Lake center Carl Jackson, who finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. "Right now we're playing with a lot of confidence."

Barrett Wragg led 10 Wilde Lake players in scoring with 17 points, a few coming on the end of fast-break layups. He also hit a dramatic three-pointer at the end of the third quarter. The buzzer sounded to end the quarter with Wragg's shot high in the air. It swished through to give the Wildecats a 58-39 lead, and Wagg was mobbed by his teammates.

Wilde Lake also got 35 points from its bench, led by C.J. Adams with 11 and Chris Taliano with 10. Taliano scored all his points in the first half, including two three-point baskets that gave the Wildcats leads of 17-8 in the first quarter and 31-21 in the second period.

Potomac is a young team and it showed early and often. The Braves, who had a height advantage inside, committed 26 turn overs and never got into any offensive rhythm.

Giving Wilde Lake a big boost with his defense and spirited all-round play was senior Jeff Johnson, who scored seven points and had seven steals, eight assists and five rebounds.

"We played well defensively tonight," said Johnson. "I like to pride my game on defense. That's what I've been working on this year. We started reading passes and were able to make some steals."

Wilde Lake jumped to a 4-0 lead and made it 14-6 when Young hit a three-pointer with 4:54 left in the first quarter. Potomac cut its deficit to 21-16 four seconds into the second quarter when James Strong, who led the Braves with 15 points, made two free throws. Jackson went to the bench on the play with his third foul.

Despite Jackson's absence, the Wildecats outscored Potomac, 18-13, in the second quarter for a 39-27 halftime lead.

Jackson started the second half and scored six of the Wildecats' first nine points as they opened a 48-33 lead halfway through the third quarter.

The 86 points by Wilde Lake was its highest output for the season, eclipsing the 71 it scored in a triple-overtime win over Mount Hebron in January.

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