Wilde Lake turns tough in drubbing N. Carroll

Entering 1-7, Wildecats cast off their problems, rout Panthers, 84-55

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 10, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Based on past performances, Wilde Lake's 84-55 victory over visiting North Carroll yesterday defied logic.

Going into the game, the Panthers were 4-5, including a victory over a talented Frederick squad.

The Wildecats were 1-7 and their lone victory was by one point in overtime over Oakland Mills on an extremely long three-pointer.

The average margin of defeat in Wilde Lake's seven losses was 18 points. Overall, the Wildecats were scoring only 48 points per game while giving up 62. Except for the 69 points against Oakland Mills in the overtime win, Wilde Lake had not scored more than 55 points.

So what happened?

"We played a lot smarter than we have been," said Wilde Lake's Brandon Graham, who scored a season-high 23 points. He is leading the Wildecats with 16 points a game.

The Wildecats also shot 50 percent (33-for-67) from the field, were much quicker and their pressure defense gave North Carroll fits.

North Carroll (4-6) led 8-2 before the Panthers' ball-handling started to falter. The Panthers, who scored seven times on fast breaks and shot 52 percent (12-for-23) from the field in the first half, eventually turned it over 23 times against Wilde Lake's full-court press.

"Their pressure took its toll," said first-year Panthers coach Craig Abercrombie. "Our point guard did an adequate job, but got worn down and no one else could bring it down. Wilde Lake didn't shoot well in the first quarter [4-for-14], but didn't seem concerned about it because they knew they'd eventually wear us down."

In the second quarter, a late 12-1 run that featured seven straight points by Steve Bacon (15 points) sparked Wilde Lake to a 32-25 halftime lead. Kevin Showe (13 points) came off the Wildecats' bench to sink three three-point baskets in that quarter.

"We have to pick that three-point shooter up better than we did," Abercrombie said.

In the second half, North Carroll went 6-for-25 from the field.

"We seemed surprised when we got a shot," Abercrombie said. "It's tough to come from behind when they play that kind of defense."

North Carroll turned it over on its first three possessions of the third quarter, and a total of eight times in that period.

And 6-foot-9 Panthers center Justin Petrecca fouled out early in the second half, creating a hole in North Carroll's rebounding strength. Petrecca, Kyle Reese and Danny Kahline each had eight rebounds. Reese led the offense with 17 points and Shawn McDonald had 12.

Wilde Lake sank its first eight shots of the fourth quarter.

"The guys impressed me," Wilde Lake coach Phil Chenier said. "This was the first time we really got after guys and maintained intensity."

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