The match-up between Wilde Lake and Howard — the last two unbeaten girls golf teams in the county — came down to the final hole Tuesday.
Ultimately, the Wildecats depth proved to be the difference.
Lee Lee Sands, playing in the last group for Wilde Lake, sank a down-hill putt on the ninth green for par to secure a 58-57 victory over a Howard team that came into this fall as the defending county champions. All four of the Wildecats’ players scored in double digits, which proved to be just enough to outlast a Lions’ squad that got a match-high 27 points (even par) from Jackie Cherry but featured just three players.
“We didn’t have one player that really stood out today, but as a collective group they all carried their weight and they all scored double digits today,” Wilde Lake coach Chris Faries said. “They earned this win.”
Tyler Teachman led the way for Wilde Lake with 18 points, followed closely behind by Sands (16 points), Aryanna Andres (13) and Zaha Iqbal (11).
Howard, which also got 15 points apiece from Alex Abrams and Harper Lurie, had been leading for most of the match after a strong start. But down the stretch, Wilde Lake made up ground as Sands, Teachman and Iqbal all closed with some of their best golf of the afternoon.
“Looking at the scorecard, we had a couple players that struggled early but really pulled their weight at the end,” Faries said. “Lee Lee had like three pars out of the last four holes, Tyler had a slow start and came along at the end … I watched all the groups play and all the players (contributed).”
For Howard (4-1), which had a chance to tie on the final hole in the form of a length par attempt from Lurie, the loss stung but coach Josh McGoun was still extremely proud of his girls.
“They all played the games that they are capable of, but it’s just one of those things where when you are playing with three girls instead of four, it’s hard to beat a good team like Wilde Lake which has four very consistent players,” McGoun said. “They are one of the premier teams in the county and we tried our best today … we just came up a little bit short.”
Cherry continued to showcase herself as one of the county’s top individual players, even in defeat. Her round on the way to 27 points included two bogeys and two birdies.
“My putting was pretty good after a few holes. Like I started off not so good with putting, but it came together and I was making some birdies putts and par putts,” Cherry said.
The narrow victory now puts Wilde Lake (5-0) in the driver’s seat for the county championship race. Faries said, though, while he’s excited about the win, he knows there is still work to be done.
“It gives us a boost, but I think it is also gives us a reality check of how close we came to not winning,” he said. “Just now the girls and I were talking about how tomorrow we are hitting the putting green. We can definitely tell where our shortcomings are and it’s on the green.”
Wilde Lake 58, Howard 57, Reservoir 13
WL (5-0): Teachman 18, Sands 16, Andres 13, Iqbal 11.
Ho (4-1): Cherry 27, Abrams 15, Lurie 15.
Re (1-4): Caporaletti 11, Adipudi 2.
Long Reach 39, Oakland Mills 4, Hammond 4
Kiana Williams scored a season-high 20 points to lead the way for the Lightning to the tri-match sweep of the Scorpions and Golden Bears, securing the team the iron skillet trophy.
Seneca Friend was second for Long Reach with 12 points and finished as the only girl in the match to reach double digits.
LR (5-2): Williams 20, Friend 12, Appler 5, Reboullet 2.
OM (0-4-1): Claxton 4.
Ha (0-4-1): Brown 3, Bhatt 1.
Marriotts Ridge 49, Centennial 46, Atholton 5
The Mustangs kept themselves within a game of first place in the standings by edging out a tri-match victory over Centennial and Atholton. Kaitlyn McIlvain scored a match-high 23 points to lead the way for Marriotts Ridge.
MR (4-1): McIlvain 23, Swann 16, Quinn 5, Chun 5.
C (5-2): Trojillo 17, Kuan 14, Sterenberg 10, Park 5.
A (0-5): Bolden 5.
Reservoir 74, Howard, Wilde Lake
Sam Gigioli scored a match-high 23 points for the Gators, which also got 21 from Daniel Kim, on the way to earning a tri-match sweep over the Lions and Wildecats.
Wilde Lake's Austin Brady was the only player to reach 20 points.
Re (3-2): Gigioli 22, Kim 21, Goran 16, Welch 15.
Ho (2-3): Gupta 19, Poisal 14, Kassiri 13, Seaman 10.
WL (2-3): Brady 20, Swanson 16, Schneider 14, Richards 1.
Hammond 61, Long Reach 40, Oakland Mills 33
The Golden Bears secured the annual Iron Skillet trophy with a season-high 61 points, taking advantage of a big day from David Edwards, who scored a match-high 22 points.
Ha (2-3): Edwards 22, Sarich 16, McDonald 13, Baker 10.
LR (1-6): Doshim 13, Hussain 13, Valenza 7, Lewis 7.
OM (0-5): Fairbanks 11, Carroll 9, Clyde 7, Seyfried 6.
Marriotts Ridge 78, Centennial 52, Atholton 49
The Mustangs stayed undefeated on the season, as they were led by Nick Mejia (25 points) and Jackson Courtney (24).
MR (5-0): Mejia 25, Courtney 24, Kim 18, Costigan 11.
C (4-3): Chaplain 20, Sterenberg 15, Sanidas 10, Choe 7.
A (1-4): Osterman 17, Chong 17, Dotson 10, Grimsely 5.