Calvert coach Frank Moore left Wilde Lake's gymnasium Wednesday night very impressed with the Wildecats' girls basketball team.
"Wilde Lake is quick, athletic and they don't mind banging," said Moore, whose team lost by 19 points.
The third-ranked Wildecats play host to Northern of Calvert County at 7 tonight for the Class 3A East region championship, and Moore, whose team lost to Northern twice in the regular season, said the outcome could turn on which team is more physical.
"Wilde Lake is very aggressive. If Northern is physical with them, it's going to be a heck of a game."
Oakland Mills and Long Reach also will play tonight for the right to play in next week's state tournament at UMBC.
The Scorpions (15-9) travel to Poolesville (16-8) for the Class 1A South region championship, and the Lightning (11-14) visits Potomac (13-11) in the Class 2A South region final.
A brief look at tonight's games:
Northern (23-1) has an excellent player in 6-foot junior forward Jen Mitchell, who is averaging 21 points and 8 1/2 rebounds. "Mitchell can flat-out play," said Moore. "She's a good shooter, and she's going to get her 25 points."
The Southern Maryland Athletic Conference champions have two other solid players in junior guard Chanel Spriggs (nine-point average) and senior small forward Lisa Brinkley.
"Our strengths are that we work well together in the defensive end and play with a lot of intensity," said coach Rod Stewart, whose team lost last year in a Class 4A region final.
Wilde Lake (22-2), one of the area's deepest teams, has been bolstered lately by the play of senior center Jessie Roy-Harrison.
Oakland Mills will face a tough, pressure defense when it meets Poolesville.
"Their strength is their aggressiveness," said Glenelg coach Ciaran Lesikar, whose team lost to Poolesville by three Wednesday night and split with Oakland Mills this season. "They're like Centennial. They have an aggressive defensive scheme that can get you out of what you want to do."
Lesikar said Poolesville is not very tall or athletic, two areas that the Scorpions will have to take advantage of. The question will be how the Scorps deal with Poolesville's defense and home crowd.
Jessica Oster scored a season-high 20 points Wednesday night in the 10-point win over Brunswick. Jamie Beale had 13 -- her fifth straight double-figure game.
Another key for the Scorpions is senior forward Adrienne Butler. In the 15 victories, Butler scored 10 or more points 11 times; in eight of their nine losses, Butler was held to single digits.
Second-year Long Reach is playing its best basketball of the season, as it showed Wednesday night with its five-point victory over River Hill.
"We're on the way up," said Lightning coach Shanya Evans, whose team has shown tremendous growth from last year's 0-22 season. "I wasn't even thinking about it [reaching the regional final]. I just wanted this team to get some wins this year. This team has something."
The Lightning will travel to Potomac, which held off 15th-ranked Centennial, 44-43, Wednesday. "Both teams are very athletic," said Greenberg, whose team downed Long Reach 72-26 and 49-29 this season. "It will be a good game."
Potomac has an excellent guard in sophomore Kiki Wimbush, who hit 23 against the Eagles.
Long Reach freshman center Tamera Jackson scored 13 points and had one of her best overall games against River Hill. Latoya Hines (15 points) and Thandi Howell (12) also played well.
Centennial, a Class 3A state finalist last winter, had the last shot before losing at Potomac by one. Senior Kathleen O'Connor, who had three game-winning shots this season, took the shot but came up just short.
Centennial is not a strong offensive team, and except for freshman Ashley Evans (11 points), none of the Eagles shot well against the Braves.
"We had open looks throughout the game, but they just weren't going down," said Centennial coach Dave Greenberg.
The Eagles scored only 15 second-half points. Evans, whose basket late in the game gave Centennial a brief one-point lead, had 11 of them and Tia Richardson the other four. The Eagles were two of nine from the free-throw line and missed all six of their free throws in the fourth quarter.
Glenelg (14-10) had a poor shooting night against visiting Poolesville, which played tenacious defense. The Gladiators were 4-for-27 from the field in the second half, and Lauren Martin, the county's leading scorer, didn't score in the last three quarters.
Still, coach Ciaran Lesikar was pleased that his team won eight of its last 11 games.
"I'm very proud of the way we played," said Lesikar. "We showed a lot out there, and we have most of the team coming back next year. I think this is just the first step for us."
Second-year River Hill (12-13) didn't play as well in the second half of the season, but the Hawks are young and have one of the county's most promising players in freshman Greeba Outen.
Outen scored a game-high 28 points in her team's five-point loss Wednesday at Long Reach. She scored River Hill's first 10 points of the game, and had 13 of her team's 15 points in the fourth quarter.
"I had a lot of confidence in my shot," Outen said after the game. "When I'm hot, I'm hot."
Pub Date: 3/05/98