Warriors introduce selves to Rebels

December 20, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Boonsboro junior Lonnell Smith knew no one gave the Warriors much of a chance against South Hagerstown on Thursday.

"We know everyone's expecting us to lose, and we have to show them we're a good basketball team," Smith said. "They just don't know yet."

Memo to Lonnell: They'll know now.

Trailing by seven entering the fourth quarter, Boonsboro kept attacking South Hagerstown's defense and refused to back down from the Rebels. Nathan Himes' jumper with 53 seconds left gave the Warriors the lead and Boonsboro held on for a stunning 66-65 victory in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

"I feel like I just won the Washington County Open," Warriors coach Chuck Ingram said, referring to his victory in the golf tournament this past summer. "I don't know what to say, it was a great team effort."


South (3-1, 2-1) had three chances to take the lead in the closing seconds. David Miner missed a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left, Ben Mertz walked into a double team at the top of the key and traveled with 6.9 seconds left and, after Boonsboro (3-1, 2-1) failed to capitalize on a pair of free throws with 6 seconds left, Miner's desperation 3 from 35 feet away sailed long off the backboard just before the final buzzer.

"We pull up and shoot it from 35 feet away with four seconds on the clock," Rebels coach Bob Starkey said. "We're not a very smart team. We play with intensity some of the time, but not all of the time.

"They out-gutted us and out-hustled us."

Behind a 17-2 run in the third quarter, South took a 49-42 lead into the fourth. Instead of wilting, Boonsboro regoruped, and behind Lonnell Smith and brother Mitchell Smith, the Warriors attacked the middle of the Rebels' defense with determination.

Lonnell Smith scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the final eight minutes and Mitchell Smith added seven of his 13 points in the frame, including two key drives for baskets on consecutive possessions that cut South's lead to 65-62 with 1:10 left.

"I was passing the ball (earlier), and they were sliding back (into the passing lanes)," Mitchell Smith said. "I had to show them I could score, too."

"That's how it goes, is to attack the rim and go to the boards if we miss," Lonnell Smith said. "We've got a good rebounding team, and we have to go hard to the rim."

"We played matador defense," Starkey said. "We let them down the lane like it was the double-door on a garage."

With South needing a basket to stem the tide, Lonnell Smith came up with a steal in the backcourt and had a free path to the hoop. The Rebels' Jason Sellers reached in as Smith was running past, and was called for an intentional foul.

Lonnell Smith made both free throws to cut the lead to one, and on the ensuing possession, a tipped pass found its way to Himes on the left baseline. Himes' 16-footer barely touched iron on its way through the hoop, giving the Warriors their first lead since midway through the third quarter.

"I don't remember it," Himes said of the winning shot. "I've been working on the jump shot all summer. I've never had a (good) jump shot, and now it's coming around."

Boonsboro's defense held Miner - who averaged 29 points in South's first two games - to 17.

"We felt like if we held David under 20 points, we'd win the game, and we did that," Ingram said.

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