Leopards hold Lions in check

February 05, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

SMITHSBURG - In the simplest terms, basketball is a game of motion.

"Basketball is a game of runs," Walkersville coach Bruce Zimmerman said. "But to get runs, you have to make baskets."

Walkersville just couldn't make any baskets on Tuesday - and Smithsburg's defense had a big hand in it - but even when the Lions did run, they were forced to chase the Leopards.

Smithsburg used good defense and unselfish play to stay out of harm's way in a 64-52 Monocacy Valley Athletic League win over Walkersville.

Smithsburg (12-4, 8-4) broke an early tie with an 8-2 run to take a 15-7 lead and then put away the game early in the fourth quarter by padding a 50-45 lead with another 8-0 run.


"We've been playing well, but we have a lot of tough games left," Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber said. "We played well tonight and did a nice job on holding down (Brock) McCollum."

Smithsburg opened with aggressive moves to the basket and quick extra passes to find open shots for the early lead. Corey Brown scored 12 of his game-high 21 in the first quarter, mostly on work in the paint, to give the Leopards a 23-15 lead.

Walkersville opened in a 1-2-2 press to start the second quarter and bothered Smithsburg enough to get within 25-23 at the 5:42 mark, but the Lions went cold.

"We didn't shoot well tonight," Zimmerman said. "We only hit 1 of 12 shots from 3-point range and they hit eight. We have so much youth. We have a lot of sophomores and they have seniors with a lot of experience. Brown and (Ryan) Marquiss are tough."

Smithsburg owned a 38-27 lead at the half but struggled against the Lions' pressure in the third quarter. But the Leopards got back to what gave them the lead, defense and passing the ball, to regain control in the final eight minutes.

In fact, Smithsburg had assists on 15 of its 23 baskets.

"We got anxious against the pressure in the third quarter and turned the ball over," Gerber said. "But we gutted it out. We rebounded and played defense. Gerry Spessard did a nice job on McCollum to take him out of the game and frustrate him, but the whole team helped out."

Brown scored three points in Smithsburg's decisive 8-0 run in the fourth quarter. Walkersville was forced to foul to get back into the game, but it was too late.

Brian Morris led Walkersville with 16, while McCollum finished with 14. Sean Hunt finished with 14 points - including four 3s. Spessard had nine rebounds and Brown added seven. David Gouff, Nathan Steelman and Marquis each had four assists.

"I think our defense has been getting us stops, and we got the 3s and transition going early," Gerber said. "We are also learning to get into our half-court offense when the transition isn't there and finding the 3s."

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