Wilde Lake doesn't quit in defeat to Central Wildecats make coach proud before he retires

March 01, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Wilde Lake's Jeremy Young did not look like someone who had just lost a basketball game. He looked proud.

He had a right to be.

The Wildecats lost to visiting Central last night, 57-44, in a Class 2A South region semifinal game. But it was much closer than that.

With under a minute remaining, the Wildecats (11-12) trailed Central (21-3), the 11th-ranked team in the Washington Post, by only three points.

"Coming into the game a lot of people didn't expect much of a contest," said Young. "But we played tough and showed a lot of heart. We left everything on the floor."

Said Wilde Lake coach Paul Ellis: "I was ecstatic with the effort because we were outmanned. I'm very, very proud of the way they played."

The loss ended the coaching career of Ellis, who has coached at Atholton, Glenelg, Howard Community College and Wilde Lake over 23 seasons.

"It's an emotional time right now," said Ellis, who retired. "This phase of my life is over, and I'll find something else. I like to do woodworking and I have a little shop. But I'll miss the kids."

Wilde Lake, which played most of the second half with leading scorer Carl Jackson on the bench with foul trouble, led the first three quarters. Central took its first lead, 38-36, on Kershaw Frager's layup with 6:47 to play. The Falcons never trailed again.

Central increased its lead to 43-36 with 4:47 left. But baskets by Chris Taliano (two points), Jeff Johnson (nine) and Barrett Wragg (10) cut Wilde Lake's deficit to three, 45-42, with 2:03 to play.

Johnson made it a three-point game again, 47-44, by making one-and-one free throws with 59 seconds. But Central, who will play Prince George's County foe Surrattsville in tomorrow's region final, converted three steals into points in the last minute and finished with a 10-0 flourish.

If Wilde Lake was to have a chance, the 6-foot-8 Jackson, who will attend Penn State in the fall, had to stay out of foul trouble. He did in the first half, scoring nine points with one foul against him.

But Central went right at him at the start of the second half, and Jackson picked up his second and third fouls a minute into the quarter. He picked up his fourth foul with 6:22 left and didn't return until the start of the fourth period.

Twenty-six seconds after Central took its 38-36 lead, Jackson picked up his fifth foul going over the back for an offensive rebound. He never scored in the second half.

"It's a physical game and there was a lot of contact," said Jackson. "The first half was called even. Then I get three fouls real quick. I don't understand.

"I tried not to foul. I wanted to stay in. I knew my team needed me. Maybe I was trying to do too much."

Central, which made only 18 of 37 free throws, was held to its lowest output of the year.

"That was our worst game of the season," said coach Walter Fulton said. "We couldn't handle the ball or shoot free throws."

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