In a first half of the season filled with ebbs and flows of momentum, Wilde Lake is officially back on an upswing.
On the road Wednesday against a resurgent River Hill team, the Wildecats got a game-high 19 points from Brince Shelton and never trailed after the opening minutes of the first quarter on the way to a convincing 48-34 victory.
It marks the first time all season that River Hill (3-7, 6-8) has lost by double digits and the third win in a row for Wilde Lake (5-4, 9-5), officially putting its four-game losing skid from earlier this month in the rearview mirror.
“I told the guys when we were going through that rough patch that the season is a marathon and not a sprint. We learned from each of those losses … and we talked about how we were going to see just what kind of team we are,” Wilde Lake coach Deon Wingfield said. “I challenged them. Are we going to stand up against this adversity or are we going to fall down? And the guys, starting with that win over Oakland Mills last Friday, have proven that they want to stand up.”
Shelton set the tone for the Wildecats right away against River Hill, penetrating the zone and finishing at the rim to score nine of his team’s first 11 points. By the end of the first quarter, Wilde Lake had established a 15-8 advantage.
“My mentality is to always be aggressive,” said Shelton, who has now scored in double figures in 12 of the Wildecats 14 games this winter. “Even when I’m cold, if I drive and attack then that will still put an effort toward getting this team a win … when I’m driving that gets my team open and I trust them to make those shots.”
When called upon, Shelton’s Wildecat teammates did indeed make shots. Cam Burris tied a season-high with eight points on the interior, while Marcus Mitchell (8 points) and Abolaji Monk (7) each hit timely 3 pointers during the second and third quarters.
River Hill, which had won four of its previous five games prior to a 12-day layoff for exams break, did manage to shake of its slow start to make things interesting in the second quarter. Ethan Smith (game-high 9 points) made a couple nice moves for baskets and back-to-back 3-pointers from Jackson Graves and Nick Marshall helped cut the Wilde Lake lead to just one point, 17-16, with five minutes to go in the first half.
But Wilde Lake managed to stay ahead by four points going into halftime and then buckled down to put the game away in the third quarter. The Wildecats outscored the Hawks 15-3 in those first eight minutes out of intermission.
“They took it to a different level and we simply didn’t go up there with them,” River Hill coach Matt Graves said. “They were more physical than us, more aggressive than us and they wanted it more than us. Their offensive mentality of getting to the basket generated second and third shots and by halfway through that third quarter it was obvious they had taken the wind out of our sails.”
River Hill never got closer than 14 points at any point in the fourth quarter.
“The guys really bought in today, from beginning to end, to get an important win for us on the road,” Wingfield said.
Wilde Lake 48, River Hill 34
WL (5-4, 9-5): Shelton 19, Burris 8, Mitchell 8, Monk 7, Bethea 2, Boampong 2, Lowe 2.
RH (3-7, 6-8): Smith 9, McKoy 7, Graves 5, Marshall 5, Heidebrecht 4, Saliu 4.
Half: 26-22 WL.
Reservoir 53, Long Reach 42
The Gators won their seventh straight game, defeating the Lightning on the road behind an incredibly balanced offensive effort that saw four players — Aria Ameli (13 points), Kaleb Glasper (11), Bobby Hill (11) and Jaylen Manning (11) — score in double figures.
Re (8-2, 11-3): Ameli 13, Glasper 11, Hill 11, Manning 11, Ballard 4, Jerry 2, McKenna 1.
LR (2-7, 5-10): Addo 10, Olivis 9, Raymond 6, Oduro-Dompre 6, Zaky 5, Brown 2, Malloy 2, Yarbough 2.
Half: 25-18 Re.
Oakland Mills 70, Marriotts Ridge 50
The Scorpions broke open a tight game in the third quarter, outscoring the host Mustangs 16-6 in the period to create their first double-digit advantage of the night. Truth Norton led the team offensively for a sixth consecutive contest, including scoring 10 points in the decisive third quarter. Barry Evans (18 points) and DJ Hopkins (10) also scored in double figures.
John Miller scored a team-high 16 points in the loss for Marriotts Ridge.
OM (8-2, 13-3): Norton 22, Evans 18, Hopkins 10, Simpson 8, Diaby 5, Lincoln 2, Gray 2, Miles 2, Pitts 1.
MR (6-3, 10-5): Miller 16, Avent 9, James 6, Stukes 4, Bryan 4, Snell 4, Tran 4, Page 3.
Half: 36-32 OM.
Centennial 65, Glenelg 57
The Eagles trailed by three entering the fourth quarter before regrouping and pulling away down the stretch. Five players scored nine or more points, led by Joey Sedlacko (15 points) and Jeong Hwang (14). Over the final eight minutes, Centennial made 12 of 15 from the foul line.
Robbie Tolbert led the way in the loss for Glenelg with a career-high 18 points.
C (7-2, 11-3): Sedlacko 15, Hwang 14, Baker 13, Bonner 9, Taylor 9, Schickner 3, Lovering 2.
G (3-6, 6-8): Tolbert 18, Pearcy 17, Walsh 12, Dry 4, Dalton 2, Della Russo 2, Owens 2.
Half: 32-31 C.
Atholton 65, Mt. Hebron 60
The Raiders snapped a two-game losing skid thanks to a big fourth quarter, outscoring the visiting Vikings 19-12 over the final eight minutes to earn the comeback win. Raymond Brown (19 points) and Jordan Oates (18) led the way, while Jack Anderson and Ian Swartz chipped in with eight points apiece.
Evan Ichrist (21 points on 7 3-pointers) and Quran Briggs (18) led the way in the loss for Mt. Hebron. As a team, the Vikings hit 12 shots from beyond the arc on the evening.
A (5-4, 9-6): Brown 19, Oates 18, Anderson 8, Swartz 8, Rabb 4, Rankin 4, Daniel 2, Miller 2.
MH (1-8, 5-10): Ichrist 21, Briggs 18, Lewis 9, Michelotti 5, Cargiulo 5, Bates 2.
Half: 31-27 A.
Howard 63, Hammond 46
The Lions bounced back from two straight close losses to earn the convincing home win over the Golden Bears. Darrion Harris tied a season high with 21 points, while Cooper Haberern (16) and Kyle Colbert (13) joined him in double figures scoring.
Howard jumped ahead by 10 at the end of the first quarter, 24-14, and never let the Golden Bears get closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Ho (5-4, 9-5): Harris 21, Haberern 16, Colbert 13, Rodgers 5, Asifo 2, Brown 2, Bruner 2, Ellis 2.
Ha (2-6, 6-8): Aodu 14, Addison 10, Edwards 8, Bennett 7, King 3, Mair 2, Thomas 2.
Latest Howard County Sports
Half: 37-24 Ho.