In her four-year stint as head coach of the Wilde Lake girls basketball team, Kelly Storr's teams had never beaten a Howard County opponent with a capital "H" in its name.
Her Wildecats always were just a couple notches below county powers Hammond and Mount Hebron, and even when they began this season 8-2, many still didn't believe they were as good as their record.
Last night, after 32 minutes of their best basketball this season, all that changed.
Guard Toni White scored 17 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, and center Krista Entrop pulled down 18 rebounds to lead host and No. 16 Wilde Lake to a 57-48 win over 14th-ranked Mount Hebron in a Howard County League game at River Hill.
It marked the first time that the Wildecats (9-2 overall, 4-1 in the league) had beaten the Vikings since the late 1980s, and put them in second place in the county.
"I think we still have a lot more to prove to a lot of people, but this gives us a lot of motivation to believe that we can do it," said Storr. "We've never beaten them since I've been here, so this has been a long time in coming."
The Wildecats did it with defense and rebounding.
Defensively, their 1-3-1 zone wreaked havoc with Mount Hebron's outside shooting -- usually the Vikings' strength on offense. Hebron guards Alisha Mosley and Kathy Doyle, who entered the game averaging over 34 points between them, combined to score 27, and had to work for every point.
The Vikings (8-5, 3-2) shot 34 percent from the field.
But what made that number even more significant was Wilde Lake's domination on the boards.
Without second-leading rebounder Jenny Joyce -- out with the flu -- the Vikings were no match for the Wildecats underneath the basket. Led by Entrop, Wilde Lake out-rebounded Mount Hebron, 48-30, holding it to one shot on most possessions.
"We didn't play particularly well at either part of our game," said Vikings coach Pat Backer. "We didn't have our heart into it until too late. This was the first time I felt that our kids weren't ready to play."
After leading by nearly a double-digit margin for the entire game, Mount Hebron used a 12-3 run to get within a point, at 40-39, with 7:49 left in the game.
From there, however, White -- averaging under five points a game -- sealed the victory by finishing off a career night that included three second-half three-pointers.
After finishing below .500 last season, the Wildecats are now in serious contention for a county title. "A lot of people look at us and say, 'They couldn't have improved that much,' " said Kristen Riismandel. "But we've got a deep bench and we're better than people think."