Powell fights to the finish for Leopards

March 17, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

CATONSVILLE, Md. - After fouling out with 48 seconds left in Smithsburg's 61-47 loss to Pocomoke Friday night in a Class 1A semifinal, Katy Powell got a hug from fellow senior Molly Bauer, then one from Tara Knable, and finally one from her father and coach, Jimmy Powell, before taking a seat on the Leopards bench for the final time.

After leaving 22 points, five assists, five rebounds, three steals and a world of hustle and effort on the court at University of Maryland-Baltimore County's field house, Katy Powell had given all she had for both one night and her high school career.

"You can't really explain (the feeling)," Katy Powell said. "It's the end of my career, and it was a great run. It could have ended much sooner, but my teammates got us this far."


After Tara Bywaters scored the first basket of the game for a 2-0 Leopards lead, Pocomoke (24-1) went on an 11-0 run over 1 minute, 44 seconds to take control.

Making things worse, Smithsburg point guard Shannon Fowkes injured her hand or wrist during the run, and would not return. She was taken to a hospital after the game.

"We think she has a broken wrist," Jimmy Powell said.

Katy Powell moved to the point, and took on both the ball-handling and scoring duties with gusto. Two 3-pointers from the top of the key cut the lead to 13-8, and another Bywaters jumper made it 15-10.

Pocomoke responded with a 9-0 run for a 14-point lead, and finished the half up, 30-19. The Warriors pushed the lead to as many as 20 after another 9-0 run late in the third quarter and appeared poised to run away.

But the Leopards (17-7) had one last run in them.

Behind Powell and Knable - who had 13 of her 14 points in the second half - Smithsburg made a game of it. Powell's NBA-range 3 from the right wing with 4:31 left cut the lead to six, 51-45.

"Coach told us it wasn't over until is was over," Knable said. "We believed in ourselves, played to our abilities and played our guts out."

"You can't tell these kids they're down and out. They won't believe it," Katy Powell said.

But Knable's jumper in the lane with 3:34 left proved to be Smithsburg's final points, as Pocomoke scored 10 of the game's final 12 points to ice the game.

Still, for a team starting only one senior - Powell - while also starting a sophomore (Candace Stanford) and two freshmen (Fowkes and Bywaters), the Leopards' trip to UMBC proved more then reward enough for a challenging season.

"It was sweet," Katy Powell said. "It was bittersweet the way it ended ... but you've got to lay it on the line and see what you've got."

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