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Smithsburg girls top Boonsboro in OT

February 01, 2004|by CURT HORNBECKER

BOONSBORO - Forget that the Smithsburg girls basketball team trailed by a point with just one second remaining in overtime. Candace Stanford was cool, calm and collected.

"I wasn't nervous at all," said the Leopards junior after draining a pair of free throws to secure a 53-52 victory over rival Boonsboro in MVAL Antietam play Friday night. "It seems like all we do is practice free throws."

The win keeps Smithsburg (8-6, 5-1) one game behind Catoctin for first place in the conference.

Trailing 52-51, the Leopards got the ball with 15 seconds remaining in OT and managed to get it to their first option, Tara Knable, who was unable to hit a 12-footer. But Stanford collected the rebound and was fouled in the act of shooting to set up the game-winning shots.

"I was thinking the whole time that I just wanted to get the ball high off the glass and draw the foul," said Stanford. "If they put me on the charity stripe, I knew it was over."

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The Warriors (6-8, 2-4) managed to force the overtime period with stifling defense and a pair of 3s by Jessie Ambrose in the final five minutes of regulation. An 8-0 run in the fourth quarter gave Smithsburg a 46-41 advantage, but the Leopards managed just one field goal the rest of the period, allowing Boonsboro to tie the score at 47-47 and force the overtime.

After the teams swapped buckets to open OT, Jerica Hewett's 3-pointer lifted the Warriors to a 52-49 edge. Knable pulled the Leopards within one point with 1:47 left, but a missed Boonsboro free throw and turnovers by both teams set up the final Smithsburg possession.

It was those turnovers that upset Boonsboro coach Bernie Semler.

"I feel like crying," Semler said. "It was our game, and we had three calls down the stretch that took the game away from us. That doesn't include the last foul, that was legitimate. (The Leopards) were fouling us trying to put us on the free throw line, and (the officials) refused to make the call. Then they call an offensive foul on us.

"It doesn't matter how hard we play, it always comes down to a few suspect calls."

Boonsboro's zone defense made life difficult for the Leopards in the paint, challenging virtually everything within 10 feet of the bucket and forcing Smithsburg to shoot a paltry 15 of 75 (20 percent) from the field.

"For the last four or five games I thought we were turning the corner. We were shooting the ball well," Leopards coach Bill Fowkes said. "But tonight we looked like it was the beginning of the season. But give Boonsboro's defense credit. That was a tough zone."

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