LARGO -- Ho, ho, hum.
Seventh-ranked Wilde Lake and 11th-ranked Arundel were beaten soundly yesterday in the opening round of the 24th annual IAABO Girls Invitational Christmas Basketball Tournament at Prince George's Community College.
Wilde Lake had no answers for Largo's superior jumping ability, rebounding and quickness and fell, 67-32.
In the last game of the eight-team tournament last night, Friendly's rebounding advantage was too great for Arundel and the Wildcats lost, 63-49.
Wilde Lake (5-1) will play Springbrook (4-1), which lost, 53-50, to H.D. Woodson, at 2 p.m. today. Arundel (3-3) meets Gwynn Park (2-3), which lost, 80-43, to Elizabeth Seton, at 4 p.m.
The IAABO is one of the strongest holiday tournaments, featuring six ranked teams. Elizabeth Seton is ranked No. 1 by The Washington Post, followed by H.D. Woodson (4), Largo (5) and Friendly (20).
Friendly out-rebounded Arundel, 44-24, and scored on many second and third attempts. The Wildcats allowed too many layups and were beaten regularly on transition.
"It's disappointing," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers. "Losing is OK, but it's the way we lost. We didn't box out and we didn't play any defense."
Arundel led, 20-18, with 2: 04 left in the first half before turning the ball over three times and missing two shots in the final two minutes to fall behind, 27-20, by halftime.
Friendly, which had four players score in double figures, scored the first six points of the second half and never looked back. Six-foot-2 Natasha Johnson (12 rebounds, 10 points) and 6-3 Andrea Gardner (10 rebounds, 12 points) controlled the boards for the Patriots in the second half.
Sherice Proctor scored 11 of her team-high 16 points for Arundel in the first half. Kaycie Lomax came off the bench and finished with 11 points.
Wilde Lake relies on its intensity and it's ability to run the court. But the Wildecats, who have 11 juniors and one sophomore, faced a Largo team that was better in every way.
"They ran the ball on us, which we're not used to," said Wilde Lake guard Toni White, who had a team-high 13 points, 10 in the first half. 'Usually, we run the ball on other [Howard] county teams."
Jessie Roy-Harrison's basket tied the game for the Wildecats at 5 with 5: 05 left in the opening quarter. But Wilde Lake made only one of 11 shots the rest of the quarter and trailed, 17-7.
Largo took a 31-18 lead into the third quarter and added to it, outscoring Wilde Lake 16-4 behind Kia Williams' 10 points.
"We didn't play well, and a lot of it has to do with Largo," said Wilde Lake coach Kelly Storr. "They are quick, fundamentally sound and can shoot. I don't think our kids knew what they were up against. They weren't ready for that kind of intensity.
"Playing a tournament like this lets you know what you have to improve on," Storr said.
Pub Date: 12/27/96