Wilde Lake can't stop Wheaton, either 'Cats battle, but taller Knights' quick start leads to 48th win in row

Class 3A girls basketball

March 13, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Wilde Lake's Lashon White saw monsters last night in her team's Class 3A state semifinal against unbeaten Wheaton at UMBC.

"To me they were monsters," said the Wilde Lake senior, referring to Wheaton's Ije Agba and her sister, Keka. "I'm used to playing down low, but tonight I felt like the small guard I am."

Ije Agba, a 5-foot-11 senior, and Keka Agba, a 6-foot tall sophomore, certainly terrorized the third-ranked Wildecats. Ije had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Keka had 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Montgomery countians won their 48th straight game, 64-46.

Wheaton (25-0) will play 11th-ranked Milford Mill, a 66-48 winner over Douglass-Prince George's County, at 8 p.m. tomorrow for the Class 3A state championship.

Two things conspired to hurt the third-ranked Wildecats (23-3) against the Knights last night.

The first was their inability to stop the Agbas; the other was their start.

They missed their first eight shots, made three turnovers, and found themselves trailing 8-0. Wheaton, which won the Class 2A state title last year, made it 15-3 with 2: 01 left in the first quarter.

"We were very nervous," said Wilde Lake coach Kelly Storr. "I felt they were playing really stiff. I kept telling them, 'Loosen up. Loosen up. Play your game.'"

The Wildecats, who won the Class 1A state title in 1995 and lost in last year's Class 2A state semifinals, slowly battled back.

The Agbas notwithstanding, the Wildecats did manage to hold Wheaton's leading scorer, Lesley Walker, to 16 points, six below her average.

"We prepared so much for No. 24 [Walker], but it was the big girls that hurt us," said Toni White, who led Wilde Lake with 17 points, including three three-pointers.

"They killed us inside," said Storr. "A lot of times, we were even in position for rebounds, we were boxing out, but they were just stronger and bigger. We just couldn't stop them."

Wheaton, which entered the game having won each of its last 12 games by 20 points or more, out-rebounded Wilde Lake by 30-17. Keka Agba also had seven blocks, including two in the first four minutes of the game that set the tone.

Said Wilde Lake 6-1 senior center Jessie Roy-Harrison: "They were just stronger than us. We would get rebounds, and they would just smack it out of our hands. And when we did box out, they were so big and tall, they would tip it away from us."

"Anytime you got the ball, they were right on you," said Wilde Lake's 6-2 sophomore forward, Bryanna Herring. "They were strong, and they knew how to block shots without getting caught. It's frustrating when you go up strong, and it comes down right in your face. They were a real good team."

Wheaton led 26-17 at halftime and 43-34 entering the final quarter. Two free throws by Herring (eight points) got Wilde Lake to within 48-42 with 5: 51 to play.

But the Wildcats missed their next six shots, and it wasn't until 1: 46 remained that they scored their next basket. By that time, Wheaton had built a 14-point lead.

"We couldn't get the ball inside, so we had to rely on our outside shooting, and sometimes they didn't fall," said Lashon White (four points). "We also didn't get any offensive rebounds."

Wilde Lake was faster and looked good running. But its offense )) was inconsistent, and turnovers hurt. "It was choppy," said Bridget White, who had 14 points.

Still, the Wildecats played hard defensively and never gave up.

"It was disappointing, but at the same time, I was happy that we were here," said White, one of four seniors who played on the 1995 state championship team.

"We tried hard, and that's what counts," said Herring.

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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