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Cats claw past Leopards

February 04, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport girls basketball team had every opportunity to become Scaredycats instead of Wildcats.

But instead of whimpering, Williamsport mustered a roar.

Senior Steph Ritchie provided a key 3-point sequence in the final minute to help Williamsport hold off a spirited comeback by Smithsburg Friday for a 54-50 Monocacy Valley Athletic League victory.

"Right in the end, in the last two minutes, (Smithsburg) challenged us," Williamsport coach Curtis Graff said. "I'm really proud of the kids. Whenever the one is considered the better team and the other one comes back on you, there is the tendency to become scared ..."

And No. 2 Williamsport (14-3 11-2) did have its problems for much of the fourth quarter, surrendering a 42-32 lead after three quarters as Smithsburg pounded the ball inside and ran off a 18-7 run over a 7-minute span.

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Katy Powell hit a 3-pointer with 2:12 remaining to tie the game at 49-49 and Michelle Feiser gave the No. 6 Leopards (11-7, 8-6) their first, and only, lead of the game with a foul shot.

After coming out of a timeout, Ritchie made a move to the basket and was fouled with 59 seconds remaining. She hit the first foul shot to retie the game, but missed the second. Megan Bowman pulled down the rebound and fed it back to Ritchie, who slashed into the lane and hit a 10-footer to give the Wildcats a 52-50 lead with 52 seconds left.

"We tried to run a play for Brooke (Weimer), but I saw the opening and went to the basket," Ritchie said. "When I missed the second foul shot, I saw Megan get the rebound and she kicked it back to me and I saw the lane open."

Smithsburg had a chance to tie the game with 5 seconds remaining when Tissa Porter was fouled by Ritchie but missed a pair of foul shots. Weimer was fouled after getting the rebound and hit two shots with two seconds left to finish with 19 points and ice the game.

It ended what could have been a high-quality comeback for a young Smithsburg team. The Leopards showed composure when they got behind and used the inside play of Heather Ashley, Porter and Feiser to get back in contention.

"We always want to get it in to our big girls ... that's our game plan," Smithsburg coach Teresa Bachtell said. "We had some players go in and bother (Williamsport). They tried to make them make mistakes. I'm real happy because we were down 13-2 in the first quarter."

Williamsport jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game behind 3s by Weimer and Ashley van Norden. The first eight points gave the Wildcats their working margin for much of the game until Smithsburg started working the ball inside.

"(Smithsburg) has been on a roll and have been playing well," Graff said. "We are midgets. If you get your composure and become deliberate, you'll jam it down our throats. That's when size hurts you, but hopefully our speed has kicked in first."

Williamsport 54, Smithsburg 50




SMITHSBURG (50)

Higgins 4, Porter 11, J. Stouffer 2, Powell 12, Whitt 4, Feiser 9, Ashley 8. Totals 21 7-14 50.

WILLIAMSPORT (54)

van Norden 6, Taylor 2, McDowell 3, Ritchie 8, Ross 3, Waltman 2, Weimer 19, Bowman 11. Totals 18 16-25 54.

Smithsburg8121218-50

Williamsport16121412-54

Three-point goals - Smithsburg 1 (Powell), Williamsport 4 (Weimer 3, van Norden)

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