Wilde Lake’s boys basketball coach Dave Appleby said that he is “stubborn” and doesn’t really like to use zone defenses. 

But with his team trailing by 10 points entering the fourth quarter, the first-year coach needed to do something to slow down host Reservoir.  He decided to switch to a 2-3 zone and did just that.

The Wildecats held the Gators to just three points in the final eight minutes to come-from-behind for a 54-44 win in the latest VSN/FOX45 Game of the Week.

“I’m not a zone guy,” Appleby explained.  “But you know something, it’s not what you do, it’s how you play people.  The problem with the zone is once you miss a couple [shots], the zone gets stronger and it becomes a mental thing.”

Senior point guard Khalil Viera scored 18 points to lead Wilde Lake (10-13 overall).  Ben Vester had 14 points and Dante Garner added 10.  The Wildecats bounced back from a 62-58 loss to Reservoir last month.

Dillion Glenn led all scorers with 20 points and Joey Usher had with 11. Gators’ (10-13) leading scorer Taz Larry did not make a field goal and finished with seven points.

Glenn drained his fourth three-pointer of the game to put open the third quarter, breaking a 23-23 tie. Later, the senior guard hit a jumper, Larry added seven straight free-throws and Cody Toler had a put-back, capping an 11-2 run that gave Reservoir a 41-31 lead entering the fourth.

“When we were in the huddle, I told my team that we need to step it up,” Viera said. “We needed to pick the intensity up and play hard defense.”

Entering the final eight minutes, Wilde Lake changed to the zone defense and totally shutdown the Gators.

“All the sudden, [Reservoir] just didn’t seem to click,” said Appleby.  “They couldn’t find their shooters and we seemed to be able to get out on [Dillion and Larry] and they took some bad shots and made some bad decisions.”

Back-to-back layups by Viera tied the game at 44-44 and Holdefer made a free-throw to put Wilde Lake a lead it wouldn’t lose.  The Wildecats scored the last 15 points of the game and held Reservoir scoreless for the final 6:30 minutes.

Vester scored seven fourth-quarter points, while Viera added six.  Down the stretch, the Columbia school went 11-for-16 from the free-throw line to ice the game.

“We made our free-throws tonight,” Holdefer said.  “In the last game [against Reservoir], we lost by four because we missed four or five free-throws in the fourth quarter. We made our free-throws tonight, so we won.”

Wilde Lake will travel to River Hill on Monday in the Class 3A East quarterfinals round.  The Hawks won both regular season meetings.

“We’re just going to practice hard, go over plays and work on the things that we did wrong in this game and get ready for River Hill.”

Wilde Lake 54, Reservoir 44
Wilde Lake121182354
Wilde Lake:
Viera 18, Handy 6, Holdefer 6, Garner 10, Vester 14. Totals 30 24-38 54.
Larry 7, Glenn 20, Usher 11, Epps 2, Toler 2, Christian 2.Totals 18 12-17 44.