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Wildcats waltz past Leopards

February 07, 1997

By CURT HORNBECKER

Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport senior Jason Turner got the loudest applause of the evening when he drained a 3-pointer with 1:11 left in the fourth period Thursday night.

The shot had no bearing on the Wildcats' 69-22 thrashing of Smithsburg in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League contest, but it did represent a different sort of victory.

Turner suffered a knee injury in an early-season practice, and saw his first action of the year in Williamsport's 12th straight win.

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"He's got the OK to play," said Wildcats coach Kevin Murphy. "But he has a long way to go. He had surgery in December, but if he can get healthy enough to help us in the regionals, it'll be nice.

"Tonight, he got a chance to step on the floor as a senior. If he can contribute for us down the stretch, it'll be a plus."

Smithsburg (0-17, 0-13) was forced to play again without starting center Christian Broyles, and Williamsport center Andy Artz took full advantage, scoring eight points in the first quarter as the Wildcats jumped out to a 22-2 lead after the first eight minutes.

As if the slow start wasn't enough, the Leopards watched Williamsport sink all eight of its field goal tries in the second quarter - including 3-pointers from Ryan Acre, Rusty Tritsch and Steve Ritchie - to expand the margin to 44-9.

The wide margin was a dual blessing for Murphy, who was able to go to his bench early and rest his starting five.

"The game fell in a good place for us," said Murphy. "We were in a war Tuesday against Walkersville, and our starters didn't have to play any more than half the game tonight, so they should be well-rested when we go to play Clear Spring Saturday.

"Plus, for some of the kids who don't normally get a lot of playing time, it was a nice reward. They come to practice every day and work hard, so it's nice for them to get some quality minutes in a game."

Smithsburg managed just 22 percent from the floor, while the Wildcats finished at 53 percent.

"Believe me," said Murphy, "I've been on the other end of scores like this from time to time in my career, and it's no fun."

Tyson Sewell's seven points led the Leopards.

Artz scored 12 points and Ritchie added 10 for the Wildcats.

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