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Leopards knock Warriors from unbeaten ranks

January 25, 2006|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG - Telling a defender to keep Boonsboro sharpshooter Alex Baker from scoring is like telling Republicans and Democrats to get along. It's just not going to happen.

But Smithsburg's Molly Powell did the next best thing. She shut out the Warriors' junior from 3-point range, allowing the Leopards to register a 51-46 upset over the previously undefeated No. 2 Warriors in a key MVAL Antietam contest between Washington County rivals.

"My goal was to shut her down," said Powell. "She's pretty quick, and they set a lot of screens for her. She's going to get her points. I'm just happy that when she had opportunities (from beyond the arc), someone was there to stop her."

With Smithsburg (9-4, 5-2) clinging to a one-point lead with 25 seconds left, Powell's defensive work forced a Boonsboro turnover under the basket. After Teonna Jewell's two free throws extended the margin to 49-46, Powell's block of a Baker 3-point attempt with 13 seconds left sealed the win.

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While Baker, who still finished with 20 points, was struggling from beyond the arc, she received little offensive support. Jerica Hewett - the other half of the Warriors' terrific twosome - had just four points in a rare off-night.

"You can't put it all on (Baker's) shoulders," said Boonsboro coach Max Shaffer. "No one stepped up tonight. We missed too many easy shots, and it came back to haunt us."

Trailing by one, Smithsburg opened the final period with four straight points, but the Warriors (12-1, 5-1) reclaimed the lead at 39-38 with 5:53 remaining on a pair of Sarah Keyser free throws.

A Cara Jordan 3-pointer sparked a 7-2 Leopards run to push the Smithsburg advantage to 45-41.

After Leopards center Laura Sudec fouled out with 2:43 left, Boonsboro reeled off five straight points for a 46-45 edge.

But Jordan, who finished with a team-high 16 points, responded with a layup to give Smithsburg the lead for good and set up Powell's defensive work.

"I've been telling (Jordan) to shoot the ball all year," said Leopards coach Bill Fowlkes, "and finally, she started shooting the ball. She hit a big 3 for us down the stretch. I hope this gives her some confidence to keep taking her shots."

After the teams stumbled to an 8-8 tie through the first quarter, Tara Bywaters began asserting herself on the offensive end for the Leopards, scoring 10 points in a 16-9 run that sparked Smithsburg to a three-point edge at the half.

When Bywaters picked up her third foul early in the third period, Boonsboro took advantage, reeling off a 13-2 run, before Teonna Jewell hit a pair of buckets in the final 44 seconds of the quarter to trim the Warriors' lead to 34-33 entering the final eight minutes.

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