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Smithsburg girls top Catoctin

March 02, 2001

Smithsburg girls top Catoctin



By DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Smithsburg over CatoctinSMITHSBURG - You can have all the speed or strength or skill in the world, but without a little thought, it's still terribly difficult to win a basketball game.

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The Catoctin girls learned that the hard way - again - against Smithsburg in the Class 1A South semifinals Thursday night. The Leopards started thinking, and the Cougars couldn't get a bad thought out of their heads on the way to a 60-43 loss.

"We got confused in the first half," Smithsburg coach Jimmy Powell said. "We saw their defense (a triangle-and-2), and the girls said, 'It's man.' And we said, 'No, it's not.' They finally believed us halftime."

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The Leopards (19-5, No. 5 Herald-Mail poll) had a 23-17 lead at halftime thanks to their sheer athleticism, not because of any mind-blowing offensive sets. That changed in the second half, when Katy Powell and Eariel Gholson - the two for the triangle-and-2 - looked less for their shot and more for the openings.

"It really was a team effort tonight," Gholson said. "They'd come and double on us and everyone else can score. And if they don't, we can get rebounds and do the other things. We don't have to score all the time."

She was right. Smithsburg put six players in the book in the third quarter, expanding its lead to 35-25 and slowly pulling away behind some great back picks and overload schemes. The Leopards advance to play at Glenelg in the region final Saturday at 7.

"We relaxed, showed them what they needed to run, and they ran it to perfection," Jimmy Powell said. "That may be the best execution we've had all year."

They needed it to get past the Cougars (13-11, No. 10 Herald-Mail poll), who dominated the boards in the first half, but couldn't overcome a disastrous 18-for-62 night from the field.

"It's gotten tougher and tougher to play (Catoctin)," said Katy Powell, who finished with a game-high 16 points. "They've got a good team and they're so scrappy. They've come a long way."

Just not far enough to beat Smithsburg. The Cougars leave their most successful season in half a decade thinking more and more about their sheer frustration against Smithsburg. The Leopards won this matchup for the fourth time this season - and the 10th in Tracey Kelley's three-year tenure in western Frederick County.

"This isn't David vs. Goliath. It's just David vs. David," a teary Kelley said afterward. "On any given night, we can beat this team. But the mental does have a lot to do with this. It's hard to tell yourself you're going to win against a team that's beaten you like this."

Smithsburg 60, Catoctin 43



CATOCTIN (43)

Benjamin 9, Yocum 4, Cherry 12, Williams 10, Valentine 6, Eyler 2. Totals 18-62 3-4 43.

SMITHSBURG (60)

Higgins 9, Stouffer 4, Powell 16, Whitt 6, Small 2, Feiser 12, Gholson 11. Totals 22-58 14-20 60.

Catoctin98818-43

Smithsburg12111225-60

Three-point goals-Catoctin 4 (Benjamin 2, Cherry 2), Smithsburg 2 (Gholson 2). Fouled out-Benjamin, Eyler.

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