Wilde Lake employed several tricks to slow River Hill last night. The Wildecats pressed and trapped and used a deliberate offense, and the strategy worked well--for the first half.
In the second half, Greeba Outen-Barlow and Fana Walcott combined to help River Hill turn the game into a track meet. Forcing turnovers that led to several easy baskets, the host Hawks pulled away for a 61-46 victory over Wilde Lake in a battle of unbeaten Howard County girls teams in Columbia.
Wilde Lake (4-1, 2-1 in the county) led for much of the first half, using a three-quarter-court press and trap that seemed to confuse the Hawks at times. River Hill (5-0, 3-0) slowly crept back and scored the final four points of the half to take a 28-25 halftime lead.
The Hawks changed things in the second half. They went to a full-court man-to-man press that forced 12 turnovers in the third quarter. The Hawks went on an 11-2 run that gave them a 43-30 lead, and the Wildecats did not threatened again.
Wilde Lake had 32 turnovers and couldn't match the Hawks' speed and quickness. Outen-Barlow scored a game-high 20 points, many on fast breaks off turnovers. Walcott, a freshman point guard, had 10 points and nine steals and helped turn the game in the Hawks' favor.
"We picked it up in the second half," River Hill Coach Teresa Waters said. "I like up-tempo ball and defense as well."
Outen-Barlow said the Hawks were disappointed with their flat first half and wanted more in the second half.
"We always have a slow start," Outen-Barlow said. "We played harder on defense in the second half."
Megan Buescher added 11 for River Hill, which overcame 27 turnovers against a tough Wilde Lake defense.
The Wildecats took a 12-4 lead in the first quarter. Bryanna Herring (18 points) made some good plays, and Wilde Lake also threw a number of different zone defenses at River Hill that slowed the pace.
But the Hawks accelerated the pace so much in the second half that Wilde Lake rarely had a chance to use its half-court zones.
During a 58-second stretch early in the third quarter, the Hawks scored four baskets, three of them layups and all on fast breaks or off turnovers.
"We wanted to be able to control the pace," Wilde Lake Coach Don Storr said. "They're a quick team, and it's the first time we've faced a man-to-man press like [that]."