Gwynn Park charges past Wilde Lake in East final

Wildecats beaten, 78-46

9-game win streak ends

Class 3A boys basketball

High Schools

March 07, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

BRANDYWINE -- One scene summed up Wilde Lake's experience yesterday in the Class 3A East regional boys basketball championship game at Gwynn Park.

With an ice bag on his foot and a grimace on his face, senior Kevin Showe was helped off the floor by his coach, Phil Chenier, as Gwynn Park assembled at midcourt for its victory photo.

Showe, Wilde Lake's premier three-point shooter, was held to two points and was injured late in the 78-46 loss.

Wilde Lake's 10-year quest to return to the state final four went unfulfilled, its nine-game winning streak was ended, and the senior-laden team was left with nothing but memories -- most of them good ones, though, from this 19-6 season.

Chenier thought the No. 20-ranked Wildecats didn't rebound well enough and turned the ball over too frequently (20 times).

And the way they started didn't help. Gwynn Park (20-5) jumped to a 15-0 lead. Then it was 23-5.

"We caught a team on fire and needed to play more disciplined," said Chenier, son of former Bullets guard Phil Chenier. "We needed to be focused and execute fundamentals. Gwynn Park pressures the ball well, and we couldn't withstand that pressure. We struggled with turnovers all season. We're a small team and needed to emphasize helping out."

The Yellow Jackets' 6-foot-7 junior center, Robert Diggs, presented a great passing target; he scored 18 points and had seven rebounds. Marcus Ashton, a 6-2 sophomore forward, scored 18, including three three-pointers in the third quarter. Junior guard Robert Spencer scored 16, including four threes in the first half.

Senior Brandon Graham scored 18 for Wilde Lake, and junior Brandon Young had 11 points, mostly on free throws.

"It was tough letting them get up like that, but we were down by 20 points to Atholton in the third quarter this season and nearly won, so we felt we could rally," said Graham, the Wildecats' leading scorer.

The Wildecats did rally in the second quarter, closing the gap to 26-20 on a tip-in by 6-4 Dane Randolph with 1:22 left in the half.

Randolph, headed to the University of Maryland on a football scholarship, didn't start but was physically stronger than any Gwynn Park player. His presence temporarily slowed the Yellow Jackets' inside game.

But after Randolph's only basket, Gwynn Park went on a 17-2 run.

The Yellow Jackets have won 10 state titles, the last in 1988, and this is their sixth trip to the final four since 1995. Wilde Lake won its only state title in 1985.

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