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Jones' long bomb buries Leopards

January 16, 1997

By MARK KELLER

Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG - Willie Jones gave the Smithsburg Leopards a dose of their own medicine.

Jones' 3-pointer in the first minute of overtime turned out to be the game-winner Thursday night as Clear Spring held off Smithsburg, 66-60, in a matchup of Washington County rivals.

The Leopards (0-12) used the 3-pointer to erase a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit. Vince Acfalle hit three from long distance in the final period, including one with six seconds left that tied the game at 58 and forced overtime.

In overtime, Jones took a pass from J.C. Schnebly and spotted up behind the arc on the left side. Jones swished the 3-pointer to put the Blazers (5-7) in front, 61-58.

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"That was a play we had worked up," said Clear Spring coach Doug Allen. "We wanted to work it inside. J.C. read the double-team and kicked it out to Willie for the 3."

Acfalle answered with a 12-footer to cut Clear Spring's lead to 61-60. After a free throw by Tony Harnish increased the lead to two points, the Leopards committed two straight turnovers. Clear Spring capitalized, making four foul shots in the final 35 seconds to put the game away.

Smithsburg took an early 9-6 lead on a 3-pointer by Acfalle and three buckets by Christian Broyles. But the Blazers scored the next eight points - six by Shane Bussard - to grab a 14-9 advantage after one quarter. After Clear Spring extended its lead to eight points in the second quarter, Smithsburg ended the quarter on an 8-3 run to make it a three-point game at halftime.

Smithsburg trailed 44-35 entering the fourth quarter before Acfalle started to assert himself. Christian Broyles put back an offensive rebound, and Acfalle hit a foul-line jumper to cut Clear Spring's lead to five. Acfalle later hit the first of his three 3-pointers to trim the margin to 48-44.

"He is a heck of a player," Allen said of Acfalle. "We had Harnish on him and he gave him just a little view of the basket. Then he hit the one that tied it with three guys on him. He came to play tonight."

Acfalle finished with 27 points for the Leopards. Broyles added 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Bussard had 17 points for Clear Spring. Schnebly and Jones each added 15. Schnebly also grabbed 17 rebounds.

"J.C.'s been doing that all year for us," Allen said. "That kid's got a lot of heart. He got into some foul trouble early, but came out hard on the boards when we needed him and hit some big foul shots."

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