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'Cats back in form for playoffs

February 28, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • Oakdale's Austin Gouldin, left, is defended by Williamsport's Brandon McCauley on Monday.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — The Williamsport boys basketball team was at its best early in the season when it had everyone involved, spreading the wealth on offense and playing solid defense.

Then injuries and other team woes set in, and the performance level toward season’s end suffered.

But the Wildcats were back in top form on Monday night in their Maryland Class 1A West opener, knocking off Oakdale 72-57 in the East Sectional semifinals.

Williamsport will host Smithsburg on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the sectional final.

Coming out with renewed intensity, Williamsport (20-3) sent shockwaves through the young Bears in the first five minutes.

Oakdale coach Terry Connolly was already working the referees, but he couldn’t stop a Williamsport defense that forced five turnovers and many stray Oakdale shots in the early going.

“We wanted to come out with great intensity and we did,” said Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray. “We moved our feet defensively and forced them into bad shots early.”

Stephen Christy hit two field goals as part of a 9-0 run to open the game, and after Oakdale’s Kevin Heine scored, the ’Cats reeled off seven more points for a 16-2 lead with three minutes remaining in the quarter.

Oakdale’s Zach Thomas, a sleek 6-foot-2 freshman, scored 13 of the Bears’ 17 first-half points and ended the game with 30, making 12 of 19 attempts from the foul line.

Thomas and Heine — who had 17 points — tried to get the Bears back in the game in the third period after Williamsport built a 38-21 lead.

With 4:10 left in the game, after Connolly had been called for two technical fouls and ejected, Oakdale cut the gap to nine points before Williamsport tightened the belt.

On three possessions, the ’Cats spread the floor end-to-end under pressure and found Tyler Wise under the bucket for easy goals — two resulting in three-point plays.

“We didn’t have the same intensity in the second half,” said Mowbray. “(Oakdale) had more uncontested shots because we blew some defensive assignments.”

Wise led the Wildcats with 19 points, followed by McCauley with 12 and Christy with 10. Arnone had nine — all at the foul line, where he made 9 of 15 — and Brandon McCauley had eight.

Wise also led Williamsport with 11 rebounds and Christy pulled down eight.

“From the beginning of the year, we were at our best when our scoring was spread around.” said Mowbray.

Williamsport 72, Oakdale 57
OAKDALE (11-12)

Heine 7-15 0-0 17, Gouldin 1-5 0-0 2, Preston 1-1 0-0 2, Thomas 9-16 12-19 30, Myers 1-4 0-0 2, Lamen 0-1 0-0 0, Hoyle 1-6 2-3 4. Totals 20-49 14-22 57.
WILLIAMSPORT (20-3)
Arnone 0 9-15 9, Green 4-8 0-0 8, McCauley 5-11 2-6 12, Christy 5-10 0-1 10, Wise 6-12 7-11 19, Butts 3-3 2-2 8, Aleshire 1-2 2-2 4, Miller 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 24-50 24-38 72.
Oakdale    8    9    13    27    —    57
Williamsport    20    12    12    28    —    72

3-point goals — Oakdale 3 (Heine 3). Rebounds — Oakdale 29 (Thomas 11), Williamsport 37 (Wise (11). Turnovers — Oakdale 13, Williamsport 13. Fouled out — Myers, Wise. Technical fouls — Oakdale 2 (Coach Connolly 2, ejected).

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