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Lions pull inside job to beat Winters Mill

March 03, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

WALKERSVILLE, Md. - One reason a coach is on the sideline is for the players to follow instructions during the course of a game.

Walkersville boys basketball coach Bruce Zimmerman is fortunate to have some good listeners, otherwise the Lions might be getting instructions for turning in their uniforms for the season.

By abandoning much of their perimeter game and shoving the basketball inside, the Lions put together a powerful pair of middle quarters that lifted them over Winters Mill 69-60 in the Maryland Class 2A West semifinals Wednesday night.

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"Bring on Middletown ... we really want them again," said senior Brandon Geppert. "We want them at our place."

That's exactly what Walkersville will get when the Lions play host to Middletown in their third meeting of the year Friday at 7 p.m.

The home team has won the previous two matchups this year. This time, it will be for a berth in the state semifinals.

With Winters Mill's lone big man, George Neville, in foul trouble - he eventually fouled out with 7 minutes, 15 seconds to play - Zimmerman wanted his team to pound the ball inside.

"They didn't have anyone that could stop us because of our size," Zimmerman said. "We knew they would concentrate on Luther (Weedon) and Chris (Hannigan) so we wanted our guys to be able to post up and knock it around."

Geppert and Hannigan each scored 17 points for Walkersville, which erased a 16-13 deficit after eight minutes and turned it into a 35-31 halftime lead behind eight points from Weedon.

That set the stage for Geppert, who scored eight of Walkersville first 12 points in the third period, including a basket when he rebound a missed Winters Mill shot and went end-to-end for a twisting layup and a 48-38 lead with 4:15 remaining in the quarter.

"I used to be a big point guard when I was in 10th grade," said Geppert.

Even with a 55-40 deficit heading into the final period, Winters Mill battled despite having to do so without Neville, who finished with 15 points. The Falcons hit four 3-pointers and reduced the gap to 59-58 with 5 minutes left.

But Hannigan hit a pair of free throws, Naquan Brown had a rebound putback, Weedon hit a runner and Shaynon Thompson finished off the Falcons with four free throws to cap the Lions' 25 of 29 peformance at the line.

"We knew (Winters Mill) could shoot the 3s ... just shows no lead is safe," said Zimmerman. "Alex (Edgley) took up some space inside and Geppert had a heck of a game."

Hannigan finished with 12 rebounds and Geppert had eight as the Lions outrebounded Winters Mill, 40-26.

Brown and Weedon each supported the Walkersville effort with 10 points.

"Brandon was huge tonight," said Hannigan, nursing a sore hand with ice after the game. "He had a career-type night."

Geppert said he thought the transition game was the key.

"We got out and ran in the third quarter and pushed the ball and got into a lot of one-on-one situations," Geppert said. "We were hard to stop inside."

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