Wildecats lose but win county crown


Wilde Lake won the county title outright yesterday. The Wildecats also lost by 21 points.

It's been that kind of season in Howard County, where parity is the name of the game.

Wilde Lake already had clinched a tie for the county championship before yesterday's regular-season finale against visiting Hammond. A Wildecats' victory would give them the title outright.

Hammond, however, had other ideas. The 18th-ranked, two-time defending county champions, behind 21 points from Rene Hines, crushed 10th-ranked Wilde Lake, 51-30.

The Wilde Lake loss meant 15th-ranked Glenelg could share the title with a victory at Howard.

Freshman guard Lauren Martin scored 28 points, including a school-record six three-point baskets, but Glenelg lost, 58-57, when freshman Janean Allen made a 15-footer with three seconds left.

Wilde Lake earned its first title since the 1982-83 season with a 10-4 league mark. Glenelg, Hammond, Mount Hebron and Centennial tied for second with 9-5 records.

"I can't believe it. It's unreal," said Wilde Lake coach Kelly Storr after finding out her team had won the title outright.

"The loss doesn't take away from it [winning the county title outright], but it would have been nice to win the game tonight."

The Wildcats lost three of their top four scorers from last year's Class 1A state championship team. With only two seniors, Storr didn't foresee a county title.

"We just never expected it," said Storr, in her fifth season. "We really thought we'd take our lumps all year. We're very proud of this team."

"This is great," said Jessie Roy-Harrison, who led Wilde Lake (12-8 overall) with 10 points against Hammond (15-7). "I was hoping Howard would win. That was our last chance."

Wilde Lake plays at Glenelg Friday in the opening round of the 2A South regionals. Storr was glad to have yesterday's poor showing out of the way.

"This is the worst game we've played all year," Storr said. "That was the first game all year we were killed on the boards. We didn't shoot well, we didn't pass well. We just didn't do what we needed to do to win."

Leading scorers Lashon and Toni White had a season-low five and four points, respectively, for Wilde Lake, which had more turnovers (16) then points (14) in the first half.

The Wildcats also were hurt by foul trouble, as starters Roy-Harrison and Bridget White picked up third fouls early in the second quarter.

Hammond responded well after losing at home last week against Atholton, 34-22.

"That was the hardest loss to take," said Hines, who spent much of the Atholton game on the bench with a hurt back.

"We needed this to build our spirits up, especially with the playoffs coming up."

Hammond got eight points from guard Tina Wilmer, who played in her first game since Jan. 29 when she sprained a ligament in her right knee.

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