Long Reach keeps heat on Wilde Lake

Lightning's defense keys 76-64 win over Wildecats

Boys basketball

February 10, 2000|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Long Reach proved yesterday that an earlier overtime victory over Wilde Lake was no fluke.

This time, the Lightning punished the Wildecats on the boards, pressed them into a 33 percent (23-for-70) shooting night and knocked them out of a first-place tie with Centennial, 76-64. It was No. 17-ranked Wilde Lake's second loss in two days.

The win at Wilde Lake ended a two-game Long Reach losing streak and kept the Lightning (11-7 overall, 9-5 league) within two games of Centennial with four games left to play. Wilde Lake is 13-5 overall and 10-4 in the league.

Long Reach's box-and-one against the county's leading scorer, David Martin (19.6 average), succeeded in holding Martin to five points, the first time all season he's scored below 10.

Except for the opening minutes, the Lightning led the entire game, gradually building to a 20-point advantage in the fourth quarter before a frantic Wilde Lake rally cut the lead to nine in the closing minutes.

"This was the best we've played all year," said an ecstatic coach Al Moraz. "We pressed the whole game because we thought they'd be tired from playing back-to-back games. And Robert Francois played great in the box-and-one on Martin. We played four complete quarters of intense basketball and used nine kids. It was a great win for us."

Francois led Long Reach with 16 points, in addition to his strong defensive effort.

Josh Gross and Kelvin Jones each scored 13 points and had nine rebounds. Gross also blocked six shots and Jones blocked three shots and had three assists.

Point guard Jason London scored six points, made eight assists and had seven rebounds and two steals.

Kerry Simms scored 12 points and had six rebounds.

"We had defensive intensity and got tough on the boards because we knew we had to win," Gross said.

Nyema Wilson and Greg James both fouled out for Wilde Lake. Wilson led his team with 15 points and James was second with 11. Martin had eight rebounds.

"We were setting picks to get me open on the box-and-one," Martin said. "But the passes were too late getting to me."

Wilde Lake had a terrible night from three-point range, making only two of 16 attempts.

The Wildecats did force Long Reach into 28 turnovers, including 11 in the fourth quarter when they pressed full court. But the Wildecats had 18 turnovers themselves.

"Long Reach was quicker to the ball than us, and my kids didn't want the ball enough on the boards," Wilde Lake coach Lester Clay said. "Long Reach scored layups on the backside time and time again. They penetrated and finished. We penetrated and didn't finish. They were successful in transition. We weren't. We're just not getting the job done."

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