If you stop guard Carruthers Gant, then you can beat Oakland Mills.
That's the theory Wilde Lake coaches Paul Ellis and Jerry Keith followed Thursday night in their "Yellow Submarine" gym, and it worked.
The Wildecats held Gant, Oakland Mills' shooting guard and leading scorer, who averages more than 20 points per game, to just 10 points, his lowest total of the season.
By doing so, the 'Cats knocked off the league-leading Scorpions, 70-65, to pull within a game offirst place with two league games left to play.
The loss endeda six-game Oakland Mills winning streak and put Wilde Lake (11-9 overall, 8-4 league) within striking distance of its first county championship since 1978.
Wilde Lake has the advantage by far over Oakland Mills (13-7, 9-3) in the remaining schedule. The Scorpions next week must face Hammond and Howard, two of the league's hottest teams.The Wildecats play last-place Glenelg and sixth-place Atholton.
The formula for stopping Gant seemed too simple to be true. The 'Cats simply double-teamed him.
"Every time he got the ball we made him pull up his dribble and pass, or else we frustrated him and hemissed his shot," 'Cats assistant coach Jerry Keith said. "They don't have anyone else who's going to hurt us outside, so we can afford to double-team him."
Gant scored only two baskets in the first half and none in the second. He did shoot 6-for-6 at the foul line in the second half, including two pressure free throws that pulled the Scorpions to within one point, 66-65, with 52 seconds left to play.
But Wilde Lake's Randy Miller (19 points) sank two crucial free throws with 30 seconds left. And after Gregg Washington (23 points) missed a three-point attempt for Oakland Mills, Phil Chenier (23 points) was fouled and sank two free throws for the final 70-65 score.
But the person Wilde Lake fans should thank the most is Joe Guyton(23 points), a shooting guard who took charge to save Wilde Lake from a strong fourth-quarter Oakland Mills rally.
Until Miller andChenier sank their clinching free throws at the end, Oakland Mills had outscored Wilde Lake 22-12 in the final quarter.
Of those 12Wilde Lake points, Guyton scored 11. He was 4-for-6 at the foul linethat period, hit two layups and buried a three-pointer.
Oakland Mills went on a 10-2 run to start the quarter, led by four points apiece from Mark Terry (17 points) and Washington. It was 56-53 Wilde Lake with 5:31 to play, and the Scorpions appeared ready to charge past the Wildecats, who used every player on their bench.
But Guyton slowed the Scorpions by sinking two free throws. And Chenier hit a free throw making it 59-53 with 5:17 left.
Guyton hit another foul shot for a 60-55 lead with 5:00 left.
A fast-break layup byCharles Daniels (six points) pulled the Scorpions within one point, 60-59, with 3:30 to go.
Chenier missed a one-and-one but stole a pass, and Guyton sank a three-pointer for a 63-59 cushion at the 2:40 mark.
After Washington nailed a baseline jumper for Oakland Mills, Guyton retaliated with a layup for a 65-61 Wilde Lake lead with 1:50 to go. Guyton hit a free throw at 1:09 for a 66-61 edge.
Then Akil Benjamin (seven points) made a layup for Oakland Mills, andGant hit two free throws making it 66-65 with 52 seconds left.
Oakland Mills never led during the game, falling behind 23-7 after one quarter, as they shot a horrendous 2-for-19 the first period. The Scorpions missed their first 12 shots and didn't score a basket until2:29 remained in the quarter.
Oakland Mills shot 24-for-76 (32percent) for the game, while Wilde Lake shot 46 percent (26-for-56).
Oakland Mills went on an 11-2 run to start the second quarter and close to within seven, 25-18, but back-to-back baskets off rebounds by Chenier and a fast-break layup by Miller made it 31-18.
Wilde Lake led at halftime 42-30 and after three quarters by 54-43.
Guyton scored eight points in the second quarter, including a spectacular turnaround jumper that was the shot of the game.
The Wilde Lake victory was more amazing because starting forward Adam Tyer was home with the flu, and one of the first subs, George Bradford, couldn't play because of a twisted knee.
"Tyer is a major player on this club. He's a banger," Coach Ellis said. "We were real worried without him."
It was also amazing that only four Wilde Lake players scored during the game. In addition to Chenier (23), Guyton (23) and Miller (19), point guard Jason Freidman scored five points.
"It took us too long to adjust to their double-team," Oakland Mills Coach Dave Appleby said. "Wilde Lake played well, and you have to give them credit. We just didn't play enough defense and missedtoo many easy layups."
Hammond (12-8, 9-3) moved into a first-place tie with Oakland Mills by virtue of the Bears' 87-71 win over Howard on Thursday. Hammond and Oakland Mills play Tuesday night at Oakland Mills.