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Bowser, Leopards find offense just in time

February 25, 2004|by CHRIS CARTER

BOONSBORO - T.J Bowser had a game-high 15 points and and Luke Heinrich added 14 as Smithsburg defeated Boonsboro 45-34 Tuesday in an MVAL Antietam matchup.

The teams combined for just eight first-quarter points, including a 4 minute, 13 second drought by both teams to end the period.

"Neither of us are high-powered offensive teams, so we kind of expected this," said Leopards coach Eric Gerber. "We knew that defense was going to be a big part of this game."

The Warriors (4-18, 2-12) took a 13-12 lead on Sean Gregg's free throw just before halftime.

"We knew we were going to have to fight in the second half to win the game," said Gerber. "We just needed to hit our shots."

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The offenses found the going a little easier in the second half. Bowser started things off with a drive and layup to give Smithsburg (4-17, 2-11) its first lead of the game, before Boonsboro reeled off six straight points for a five-point edge.

Following a heated Leopards timeout where an infuriated Gerber lit into his team, Bowser took the game into his hands. The senior guard ignited the staggering Smithsburg offense with nine points of a 13-2 run to give Smithsburg a 27-21 lead.

"T.J. had a huge couple of minutes for us," Gerber said. "He was tremendous, that was a big turnaround from what had been happening."

While it was clear that the momentum had shifted, the Warriors didn't let it get to them.

After a missed layup by Kyle Davis, Josh Lum grabbed the offensive board and scored to close the gap to four points with 13 seconds left in the third quarter. Following a Leopards turnover, Cory Shea took an in-bounds pass just behind the half-court line with 3 seconds left. He heaved up a prayer as the buzzer sounded and it was answered as the Warriors closed to within one, 27-26.

"That was a nice shot. It got them right back in it after we grabbed the lead." said Gerber. "We knew we would need to respond in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors managed to tie the game at 28-28 early in the quarter, but slowly saw the game slip out of reach. The Leopards hit 12 of 18 free throws in the final stanza to pull away and secure the win.

"It was good to be able to win this game," Gerber said. "We'll have another tough one with Catoctin (today), but hopefully it will give us some confidence before the playoffs"

Lum led Boonsboro with 11 points.

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