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Cougars down Leopards in OT

February 26, 2004|by JOSH BOND/Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG - Fans got their money's worth when the Smithsburg and Catoctin boys basketball teams met on Wednesday.

They got two games for the price of one.

After Game One - a half of turnovers and missed opportunities - Game Two was more efficient as Catoctin became opportunistic and pulled away for a 60-56 overtime MVAL Antietam victory.

The first half was marked with an abundance of steals and bad passes, proving that both teams were struggling. It played out to a 27-27 tie at the half as the Cougars used a 13-point start by K.C. Simmel to stay in the game.

"K.C. carried us in the first half," Catoctin coach Ryan Oman said. "I told the team at halftime that the rest of the team needed to step up and help K.C."

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The Cougars listened.

Catoctin (7-14, 4-8) scored the first nine points of the third quarter to jump to a 36-27 lead. Smithsburg (4-18, 2-12) was kept off the board until the 2:28 mark when T.J. Bowser scored from underneath the basket to get the Leopards started.

Bowser's basket started a 16-7 run over the next 6:02 as Smithsburg grabbed a 46-43 lead with 4:26 remaining in the game. Bowser scored nine of the 16 points in the rally.

It didn't last, though, as Catoctin regained the lead and forced Smithsburg to score in the final 20 seconds on a Bowser floater to forge a 52-52 tie and force overtime.

Catoctin's biggest break came in the form of a cramp in Smithsburg's style. Bowser, who finished with 20 points, went down with leg cramps during overtime and was forced to leave the game.

"Two games in two days took a toll on T.J.'s legs," Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber said.

The Cougars capitalized by moving to a 60-54 lead with 54 second left, scoring four of the points from the foul line, more than enough to take the victory.

"We battled back but couldn't quite get it done," Gerber said.

Simmel led Catoctin with a game-high 21 points while Bowser added six steals and three assists to pace the Leopards. Blake Nalley came off the bench to score eight points for Smithsburg, while Chris Gyursin pulled down 12 rebounds.

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