Southern gets its shot at Rebels

March 06, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

CUMBERLAND, Md. - Riding the inside duo of Dennis Tressler and Nathan Fitzwater, Southern Garrett guaranteed itself exactly what it wanted - a rematch with South Hagerstown in the Class 1A West final.

Tressler scored 22 points and Fitzwater added 12 as the Rams methodically worked the ball inside and took apart Smithsburg for a 57-45 victory in the semifinals Wednesday night at Fort Hill.

Southern (18-4) will return to Fort Hill on Friday evening looking to avenge a one-point loss to the Rebels in last year's regional final.


"They're very athletic, quick, fast and well coached for the way they like to play," Rams coach Tom Bosley said of South. "We need to be fundamental, attack and be in control of ourselves."

That's exactly how Southern beat Smithsburg (15-7), jumping on the Leopards from the opening tip. Tressler had five points in the opening 10-0 run.

Smithsburg trailed the entire way, with few of its outside jumpers falling.

"We didn't shoot the ball well enough from the perimeter for them to guard us, and that was key," Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber said. "We just couldn't knock down shots."

The Leopards cut the lead to 12-9 seconds into the second quarter, but Southern answered with a 9-0 run. Tressler scored four points and Fitzwater converted a three-point play.

The run started what would become a recurring theme. Whenever Smithsburg mounted a comeback, Southern slowed its offensive sets down and found Tressler or Fitzwater inside for the answer.

The Leopards cut the lead to five points several times in the second half, but never got any closer - in part because the open perimeter shots never would fall.

"We try to play a little faster pace, and they slow the pace down," Gerber said. "When we did pick up the pace, we weren't able to hit shots in transition."

Corey Brown had 11 points as the only Leopard in double figures.

Southern Garrett 57, Smithsburg 45


Brown 11, Gouff 4, Fay 8, Steelman 2, Spessard 4, Marquiss 9, Hunt 7. Totals 18 6-9 45.


D. Tressler 22, C. Tressler 7, Stephens 10, Fitzwater 12, Bender 6. Totals 22 13-18 57.

Smithsburg 7 9 17 12 - 45

Southern 12 15 13 17 - 57

Three-point goals - Smithsburg 3 (Fay 2, Hunt). Fouled out - Spessard.

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