Marquiss, Leopards tower over Knights

December 18, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

SMITHSBURG - The separation between the Smithsburg and Century boys basketball teams Friday night was 6 feet, 10 inches.

The height of Leopards senior center Clay Marquiss was more than the Knights could handle on either end of the court. Marquiss had 16 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots and Smithsburg prevailed, 58-42.

"He's tough, not only offensively but defensively," Century coach George Wunder said. "He takes away a lot of shots and a lot of penetration."

But in order for Marquiss to be effective, he has to be on the floor. The Leopards (2-1) lost 63-45 in their season opener against Century (1-3) on Dec. 7, when foul trouble kept Marquiss on the bench for about half of the game.


"I had two fouls in the first two minutes of the first game," Marquiss said. "And we just couldn't handle their press last time."

Century's full-court pressure didn't seem to faze the Leopards this time as Smithsburg opened the game on a 10-2 run and never trailed. Luke Heinrich started the run by sinking a long jumper from the right wing and capped it with a layup in transition.

"We had jitters in our first game against them. They played full court and their pressure just killed us," said Heinrich, who finished with a team- and season-high 17 points. "But we practiced all this week and figured out how to break it."

However, the Knights didn't break. Century's Cory Krause scored from the paint just moments into the second quarter to tie game at 13-13.

The Leopards answered with seven unanswered points, including four from Marquiss, to take a 20-13 lead.

"We made some good runs and made some big shots," Wunder said. "But it seemed like every time we did that they got the ball into the big kid."

But with 4:41 left in the second quarter and Smithsburg still leading 20-13, Marquiss picked up his second foul and went to the bench for the rest of the half. Century capitalized and trailed only 27-23 at halftime.

Clinging to a 29-27 advantage with five minutes left in the third quarter, the Leopards finally delivered the knockout blow with a 12-0 run over the next four minutes. Heinrich and Chris Brown each had four points in the flurry, which Tyler King kept alive with an electrifying stuff of Century's taller Bennett Foelber in transition.

"(King) can leap," Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber said. "That was a big-time block."

Trailing 45-32 early in the fourth quarter, Century mounted its final comeback attempt. A 3-pointer by Foelber, who finished with a game-high 22 points, brought the Knights back within single digits at 48-41 with 4:10 left on the clock.

But Smithsburg, which received points from eight players, outscored Century 10-1 the rest of the way.

Marquiss finished with three fouls - and Century's number.

"When (Marquiss) can stay out of foul trouble ... that's the key to our success," Gerber said. "Of course, we also need other people to step up and that's what (Heinrich) did. He took the ball to the basket strong."

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