Sophomore Kain Corkeron leads Wilde Lake boys basketball past River Hill, 65-51

·3 min read

Traveling up the floor with speed, Wilde Lake sophomore Kain Corkeron rose up for a two-handed flush that electrified the home crowd and sent them home happy.

That dunk put the finishing touches on an impressive all-around performance from the Wildecats in their 65-51 victory over River Hill. Corkeron led all scorers with 22 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.

“I had that bucket before, a little floater, and I could feel the game kind of getting there,” Corkeron said of the transition slam. “Then I got on the break and broke away. I knew I’d get the dunk in and just seeing the crowd and everyone jumping was amazing.”

Corkeron was often the beneficiary of unselfish ball movement, finding creases in the backside corner of the Hawks’ 3-2 zone. Overall, the Wildecats (4-2, 4-2) knocked down 11 triples swinging the ball from side to side to create open looks. Junior Nathan Hiteshew and sophomore Xavier Gilliam also found success from behind the arc, finishing with 16 and 13 points, respectively.

“One of the things we talk about is moving the ball, one more pass, swing, swing, sacrificing for your teammate,” Wilde Lake coach Deonne Wingfield said of the offensive success. “I thought tonight they did a great job of moving the ball side-to-side, giving up a good shot for a greater shot. The guys are really starting to come along. This is our sixth game together and they’re all buying into the concept of playing team basketball.”

Complementing their unselfish offense, the Wildecats employ a unique a 1-3-1 zone press defense. With great length across the board, Corkeron’s presence at the top of the zone caused the Hawks persistent issues. The Wildecats perimeter activity forced several turnovers, which became easy transition opportunities.

“I thought the 1-3-1 would be effective against a lot of people, we’ve got someone tall up top and we can disrupt the offensive settings that they want to run,” Wingfield said. “In our 1-3-1 we try to get our wings to get aggressive and someone like Kain with his length up top to control and dictate our defense. He did a phenomenal job with that tonight.”

Despite struggling to protect the ball at times in the first half, River Hill (2-2, 2-2) trailed by just six at the break as junior Matt Behrmann scored nine of his team-high 16 points. However, the Wildecats continued to find success from behind the arc hitting three 3-pointers in the opening 2:09 of the third quarter.

As Wilde Lake’s offense picked up steam, River Hill senior guard Levi Lawal found success attacking the basket. But just when it seemed like the Hawks were gaining momentum, Gilliam drilled a triple as the third-quarter buzzer sounded, bringing the lead back to double digits.

In the fourth quarter, every time River Hill tallied a bucket to trim the lead, Wilde Lake answered right back. Hiteshew’s third triple of the game with 3:20 remaining pushed the Wildecats to a 56-44 advantage, diminishing the Hawks’ hopes of a comeback.

“We just need to get games under our belt,” River Hill coach Matt Graves said. “Playing different teams with different styles is only going to prepare us for that late February run, hopefully, that we can do in the playoffs.”