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Walkersville makes quick work of Fort Hill

March 03, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

WALKERSVILLE, Md. - What on paper looked like a close boys basketball matchup between Walkersville and Fort Hill Tuesday turned into the Lions' chance to serve notice to the rest of Class 2A West that they won't be eliminated without a fight.

In every way, Walkersville turned Tuesday's region quarterfinal into a one-sided affair, forcing 23 Fort Hill turnovers while commiting only four and shooting 48 percent to the Sentinels' 27 percent in a stunning 68-36 blowout of the defending 2A West champions.

"I was surprised how few points they scored," Lions coach Bruce Zimmerman said. "Offensively and defensively, we've been playing real well."

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Dave Berry's consectutive field goals on a layup in transition and a 3-pointer from the right wing gave Walkersville (19-4) a 12-7 lead late in the first quarter.

The Lions, with the help of reserves Hunter Tuck, Shaynon Thompson and Brandon Geppert, turned up the defense in the second quarter, forcing the Sentinels into various traps and converting the ensuing turnovers into points.

Walkersville opened the quarter on a 14-4 run and led by at least 13 the rest of the way.

"Our bench played very well," Zimmerman said. "When we changed to our press, (the reserves) were in the game and they are a little quicker."

"The second quarter was the killer," Fort Hill coach Todd Eirich said. "We turned it over ... and our shooting was the worst it's been all year, which can be contributed to their defense, I guess."

Brock McCollum - a Herald-Mail All-Area First Team selection last season - found his groove in the quarter, scoring eight of his game-high 21 points. McCollum made a couple outside jumpers early to open up his inside game later.

"They were laying off of me outside, and I had to step back and hit the jump shot," McCollum said. "There aren't a lot of people who know I can make that shot. That gave me confidence. When your shot's on, you feel there's nothing you can't do on the court."

McCollum wasn't the only Lion who found a groove. Berry finished with 11 points and no turnovers from the point, and Chris Hannigan added 10 from all areas of the court - including a one-handed slam following a steal which highlighted a 12-2 run to end the third quarter with Walkersville up, 47-24.

"We've been stressing taking care of the ball and getting a good shot," Zimmerman said. "We've really been running our offense well the last five games. ... We've been pretty balanced all year long."

Walkersville made 27 of 56 shots; Fort Hill made only 13 of 49 shots.

"I think it was our failure to execute," Eirich said. "Our halfcourt defense was decent, we just couldn't put the ball in the basket."

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