Leopards answer call vs. Boonsboro

March 04, 2003|b DAN KAUFFMAN

SMITHSBURG - Boonsboro gave Smithsburg everything the Warriors had in an effort to advance in Class 1A West.

The Leopards answered every challenge.

Corey Brown had 25 points and three other Leopards finished in double figures as Smithsburg overcame a heroic effort from Boonsboro's Lonnell Smith and defeated the Warriors 77-66 in a tension-filled, frenetic quarterfinal full of playoff intensity.

"This team had the heart, they always had the heart," said Boonsboro coach Chuck Ingram, for whom Monday was his final game. "We were down and we came back. ... I love this group. We just didn't shoot."

Smithsburg (14-8) took control early in the second quarter when Sean Hunt made two 3-pointers in the frame's first minute for a 24-17 lead that grew to as much as 33-21. Hunt had four 3s in the first half, finishing with 14 points.


That's when Smith took over.

The Boonsboro junior made the lane his proving ground, slicing through for layups and positioning himself for rebounds. He had 13 points and eight rebounds in the second quarter (24 and 14 for the game).

He sparked a 9-0 run late in the frame as the Warriors went into halftime only down 41-38, and was the main reason the Warriors held a 21-10 rebounding edge at half.

"We got to an 11-point lead, and Lonnell decided he was gonna take over," Leopards coach Eric Gerber said.

But even though Boonsboro (12-10) closed the gap, the Warriors never got the tying or go-ahead points.

The Warriors hurt themselves with three blown layups and two turnovers early in the third quarter - when Smithsburg's offense was also sputtering.

"They only scored one point (in those possessions)," Ingram said. "We could have gone from down three to up four or five."

When Boonsboro did score (cutting the lead to two seven times in the third quarter and to one once early in the fourth), Smithsburg answered every single time to keep control.

Then, with Smithsburg leading 58-55, Smith picked up his fifth foul with 6:05 remaining. The Leopards extended the lead to 64-55 with 4:52 left.

Boonsboro surprised Smithsburg with a full-court press and forced eight turnovers the rest of the way, cutting the lead to 66-61 with 2:45 left.

But Ryan Marquiss (15 points, seven assists, five rebounds, three steals) found Corey Brown twice in transition for easy layups down the stretch, and Borwn's exclamation, one-handed tomahawk dunk on a breakaway put away the Warriors.

"From halfcourt, I was like, 'oh man.'" Brown said. "I had my eye on the rim."

"In transition, Corey is our money guy down under the basket," Marquiss said.

Keith Kellinger had 21 points - 10 in the first quarter and six in the fourth - for Boonsboro, which made just 16 of 29 free throws. Smith's only flaw was a 6-for-13 effort at the line.

"What killed us all year is our foul shooting," Ingram said. "When you look at the stats, that's it. It's been our Achille's Heel all year."

Class 1A West quarterfinal

Smithsburg 77, Boonsboro 66


Kellinger 21, L. Smith 24, Tierney 8, Himes 2, Itnyre 4, Wetzel 4, M. Smith 2, Barnhart 1. Totals 25 16-29 66.


Hunt 14, Spessard 6, Marquiss 15, Gouff 11, Brown 25, Fay 4, Steelman 2. Totals 26 19-27 77.

Boonsboro 16 22 12 16 - 66

Smithsburg 18 23 13 23 - 77

Three-point goals - Smithsburg 5 (Hunt 4, Brown). Fouled out - L. Smith, M. Smith.

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