Wilde Lake aims to put smart spin on free throws Wildecats girls meet Southern today in 2A semi

Girls basketball

March 14, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Two years ago, it got so bad that Wilde Lake coach Kelly Storr decided to ignore it.

So a few weeks before the regular season ended, the Wildecats stopped shooting free throws at practice.

"We just stopped doing them," Storr said. "We couldn't do any worse than what we were doing."

Wilde Lake shot 38 percent from the line that year. But en route to winning the Class 1A state title, the Wildecats made their free throws when it counted.

"When we got to the states, we did shoot well." Storr said. "It helped us out."

The eighth-ranked Wildecats have earned another trip to the state tournament, but not because of their free-throw shooting. Wilde Lake defeated Hammond, 57-50, last Saturday for the Class 2A South region title, but missed 17 of 27 free throws.

Twin guards Toni and Lashon White had 20 and 13 points, respectively, against Hammond, but didn't shoot well from the line. They were a combined six of 17. In fact, the Wildcats (21-4) made only six of 14 free throws in the last 2: 30 against the Golden Bears.

"It very much concerns me," said Storr, whose team plays at 3 o'clock today against Southern (13-10) of Anne Arundel County in a state semifinal game at UMBC. "I don't know what it is. They work on it a lot."

Storr has decided not to ignore the problem this year. "We'll be working on it all week because we need it," she said.

The players acknowledge the problem, but, said center Jessie Roy-Harrison, "when we need to make them, we'll come through."

The Wildecats, who won the county title last year and shared it this season with Centennial, have won 11 straight.

Storr said Southern reminds her a little of Centennial because of its defensive pressure. She also sees similarities between Southern and the Wildecats.

"This is a team like ours," said Storr. "We might have a couple inches here or there, but I think they might be just as physical, just as quick, just as scrappy. It's going to be a pretty good game."

Both teams rely on a balanced attack.

"Our strength is that we don't depend on one player," said Southern coach Linda Kilpatrick, who is making her 10th trip to the state tournament. "We barely have one player averaging double figures [Lindsey Lowman, 12 points]. We just hope that everybody scores a little bit each game."

Toni White is the only Wilde Lake player averaging double figures (14.1), but has a lot of support from teammates Lashon White (9.6), Bridget White (8.9) and Roy-Harrison (8.3).

Southern has the most losses of any team in the tournament, but its record is deceiving. The Bulldogs played 11 Class 4A schools this season, winning five of those games. Lowman, a 5-foot-7 shooting guard is their best player.

Storr said in order to win, the Wildecats "are going to have to play really good defense and be very good on the boards. That's what it's really going to come down to."

She said offensively the team will need to avoid turnovers by making "smart decisions" with their passing. Storr said the Wildecats played "comfortable and relaxed" in the state tournament two years ago, something she said was missing last Friday against Hammond.

"We were too excited," she said, "and that's what we have to try and dodge going into the states. They have to play with confidence."

Pub Date: 3/13/97

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