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Warriors hang on

December 11, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - If Boonsboro boys basketball coach Chuck Ingram knew before the game Tuesday night that his squad would shoot just 4 of 17 from the foul line and not score a point in the final 3 1/2 minutes, he might not have even bothered showing up.

Good thing he did. Ingram now knows what to work on following the Warriors' 50-47 win over visiting Monocacy Valley Athletic League foe Smithsburg in the season opener for both teams.

"It was ugly," said Ingram. "This group of kids has to learn how to win, making the foul shots and controlling the ball at the end.

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"It was first-game jitters. That had a lot to do with it. They just need to learn to be patient and play smarter."

Smithsburg was equally rusty - shooting just 17 of 50 from the field, 9 of 23 from the stripe and committing 28 turnovers.

Yet, the Leopards, who trailed 19-10 early in the second quarter and 41-34 to start the fourth, never stopped clawing. Sean Hunt sank a 3-pointer from the top of the arc and Ryan Marquiss made a pair of free throws to cut Smithsburg's deficit to 41-39 in the opening minute of the final period.

But Boonsboro answered louder, ripping off a 9-1 run over the next four minutes to seemingly put the game away with a 50-40 lead and just 3:20 showing on the clock.

That's when Smithsburg took over, capitalizing on several misfired, forced shots by the Warriors with seven unanswered points. Corey Brown's bucket from the paint with 33 seconds left made it a three-point game at 50-47. And following three missed foul shots by Boonsboro, Smithsburg came out of a time out with 14 seconds left and a chance to tie it.

Leopards guard David Gouff, who'd already sank a 3, got another open look from beyond the arc. But his shot misfired, and Warriors forward Lonnell Smith grabbed his team-high eighth rebound as time expired.

"I was proud of the way we battled back, especially late," said Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber. "We had a chance to tie it at the buzzer, so I'm very pleased with how we executed. But we dug ourselves way too big of a hole with all the turnovers."

Marquiss led Smithsburg with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Corey Brown had 18 points and eight boards.

Smith scored 14 of his team-high 15 points in the first half, as Smithsburg took a 29-24 advantage into the break. And he said the score should have never been as close it was at the end.

"We could have won by more than that," said Smith, who was just 1 of 10 from the foul line. "If we lost, it would have been on me. I'm going to come to practice early and work on my free throws."

"We've got a lot to work on," said Ingram. "But right now the boys can smile."

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