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Lions press past Leopards

February 10, 1999

Lions press past Leopards

Walkersville's man pressure too much for Smithsburg

Walkersville vs. SmithsburgBy MIKE SIRBAUGH / Staff Correspondent

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




SMITHSBURG - When two big cats tangle with each other, it's usually the larger of the two that comes out on top.

That scenario played out true to form Tuesday night, when the Leopards succumbed to the Lions from Walkersville 61-48 in Monocacy Valley Athletic League action.

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"We knew it was going to come down to the wire," said Walkersville coach Mike Mummert. "They are a good basketball team. We were just trying to take one possession at a time. They shot the ball extremely well."

The smaller Leopards took the game to Walkersville (12-7, 12-4 MVAL) in the early going, shooting 78 percent from the floor in the first quarter.

The big gun for Smithsburg (7-10, 4-9) was junior center Chip Kershner, who had 17 points before halftime. The Lions played a matchup zone press in the first half that should have worked to their advantage, but the Leopard guards were able to consistently get the ball to Kershner, who kept hitting short turnaround jumpers with unerring accuracy.

"That was one thing we focused on at halftime," Mummert said. "We said, 'We've got to try to shut him down.' We didn't want to give him as many open looks. We wanted to get a hand in his face all the time. We're going to make somebody else score."

Smithsburg knew its drive would need a leader in the second half. No one took the wheel.

"In the first half, we shot over them," said Smithsburg coach Dave Morris. "I told them at halftime that's not going to last. You've got to go to the hole against this team."

Trailing 26-24 at halftime, the Lions opened up the third quarter in the same matchup zone and Kershner hit a short jumper 14 seconds later - his last points of the game.

Walkersville went to a full court press and the rest of the Leopards could not pick up the slack.

The Lions got consistent scoring from Aaron Edgley (a game-high 20 points) and 3-pointers from Doug Ogg and John Pelletier (14 points) to go up 38-37 after three quarters.

With a 43-41 lead, the Lions went for the jugular behind their full-court press, and went on an 8-0 run that created the cushion that Smithsburg could not overcome.

"Our press did do exactly what we wanted it to do," Mummert said. "The press got us a couple of baskets quickly. That really was a big part in the game."

Kershner finished with 19 points and Nate Showman added 11.

"Walkersville was more aggressive than us," Morris said. In the fourth quarter, they didn't fall. The outside jumper was not there. The team just mentally shut down."

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