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Lions get last roar in league

February 06, 2002

Lions get last roar in league



Walkersville clinches tie for its first MVAL title

By DAN SPEARS
dans@herald-mail.com

No. 3 Walkersville 60
No. 4 Smithsburg 42

WALKERSVILLE (60)

Vernoy 6, Casadei 2, Trout 6, Harrison 25, Lancaster 13, Schultz 8. Totals 21-52 15-21 60.

SMITHSBURG (42)

Stouffer 2, Powell 15, Small 8, Feiser 6, Gardenhour 1, Gholson 10. Totals 18-58 12-20 42.

Walkersville9131721-60

Smithsburg6111213-42

Three-point goals-Walkersville 3 (Vernoy, Schultz 2). Fouled Out-Mackey (S).



SMITHSBURG - The No. 4 Smithsburg girls basketball team knew it had to keep one eye on Walkersville center Koffi Harrison, an All-Area selection last season and the Tri-State's second-leading rebounder.

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But when the Leopards had to keep the other on Emily Lancaster, they were in deep trouble.

Harrison finished with a career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds, but Lancaster finished with 13 points and nine rebounds at all the right times as the No. 3 Lions moved to the brink of their first Monocacy Valley Athletic League title with a 60-42 victory Tuesday night.

"I was really pumped up for this one," Lancaster said. "Tonight and Friday (vs. Catoctin), these are two huge games. And I had a feeling this one would be tough tonight."

She gave her teammates some breathing room. With such high stakes, both teams came out tight and missed their first 18 shots from the field. Once things settled down, Lancaster settled in, scoring eight points in the second quarter as Walkersville (17-2, 15-1) crawled to a 22-17 lead at halftime.

"Things just kind of flow," Lancaster said with a shrug of her shoulders. "All of a sudden, you know what to do and where they need you to help."

Smithsburg (16-3, 12-3) scored the first two buckets of the second half to make it a two-point game, but Harrison and Lancaster then took over - scoring 14 points in a 17-4 run that made it a 39-25 game.

"(Emily) has stepped up in other games for us, but never in a game of this magnitude," Walkersville coach Mike Mathis said. "We told her to be strong tonight, and she was the difference."

The two were also the last line of defense in a collapsing Walkersville man-to-man and zone against Smithsburg's Katy Powell and Eariel Gholson. They combined for 25 points, but worked extra hard just to get decent looks at the basket.

"They helped off the ball; they're always real good at that," Smithsburg coach Jimmy Powell said. "Lately, we've had a real good supporting cast, but tonight, you've got to give their defense credit. They're the most outstanding team we've played this season, by far."

Smithsburg closed it to 44-33 early in the fourth, but Harrison slammed the door, scoring all Walkersville's points in an 8-2 run over the next 2 minutes.

"She proved tonight that she's the best player in the league," Mathis said. "On the boards, on the block, on defense ... there's not much more you can ask from a player."

The win - the Lions' eighth straight - gives them at least a share of the MVAL title, but they can take it all by themselves with a victory Friday over Catoctin, the last team to deal Walkersville a loss.

"Since Catoctin, we talked about tonight and its significance," Mathis said. "It was in our ability to win it outright. But right after the game, we started talking about winning Friday at home."

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