Wilde Lake wrangles title from Hammond, 57-50 Golden Bears denied sixth straight trip to final four

Class 2A/Girls basketball

March 09, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Wilde Lake accomplished last night what it couldn't a year ago.

TC Playing at Hammond for the second straight year in the Class 2A South region championship, the eighth-ranked Wildecats broke open a tie game two minutes into the fourth quarter with seven straight points en route to a 57-50 victory.

The loss ended a record-tying string of five straight appearances by Hammond in the Class 2A state championship game. Hammond beat Wilde Lake by three in the region final last season.

"It was a big disappointment when we didn't make it last year," said Wilde Lake's Toni White, who scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the second half. "This is a a great feeling."

Wilde Lake, which won the Class 1A state title two years ago, will play Southern-AA, a 47-36 winner over visiting South River, at 3 p.m. Friday in a state semifinal game at UMBC.

The 12th-ranked Golden Bears (21-5) suffered a major blow when leading scorer Rene Hines (19-point average) injured her right knee with 1: 49 left in the second quarter. Hines, who was carried off the floor, had led Hammond to a 22-15 lead with 12 points.

The 6-foot-1 Hines returned with 6: 16 left in the third quarter with her knee wrapped up. But she reinjured it a little more than a minute later and returned to the bench. The All-Metro forward came back again, with 4: 41 left in the game, but lasted only 23 seconds after throwing the ball away.

Hines said she "over-extended" her knee when she tried to steal the ball from behind Wilde Lake's Natashka Hill in the second quarter. When she returned, Hines said that "every time I would turn a certain way it gave out."

Even without Hines, a senior, on the bench, Hammond played the athletically superior Wildecats tough.

"Losing Rene took the continuity out of our offense," Hammond coach Joe Russo said. "Our offense is built around Rene."

Toni White's 11 third-quarter points gave Wilde Lake a 37-32 lead entering the final period. Lashon White, who scored eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, made it 39-32 before Hammond used a 10-3 run to tie the game with 5: 46 left.

The game turned in the next few minutes. Jessie Roy-Harrison made one of two free throws for a 43-42 Wilde Lake lead. Hines, who couldn't turn her body, then threw the ball away.

Bridget White made her only second-half basket for a 45-42 lead. Lashon White scored off a Hammond turnover for a 47-42 lead. Then Crystal Todd, who led Hammond with 16 points, missed a shot and Roy-Harrison (15 points) scored for a 49-42 margin with 2: 47 left.

"I think some of our experience paid off at the end," said Wilde Lake coach Kelly Storr.

Wilde Lake (21-4) made only six of 14 free throws the rest of the game, but Hammond could not take advantage.

For Russo, it will be the first time in six seasons he won't be making a trip to the final four.

"It's a strange feeling," he said. "But all good things come to an end sometime. I can't be down on the kids. They played their hearts out."

Pub Date: 3/09/97

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