Buzz on Bentley goes from whisper to a scream

Smithsburg senior opens more eyes in win over Boonsboro

Smithsburg senior opens more eyes in win over Boonsboro

January 25, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

BOONSBORO - One of Washington County's best-kept basketball secrets isn't a secret to Boonsboro anymore.

After Tuesday night, the Warriors are well aware just how good Smithsburg point guard Andrew Bentley is.

Bentley helped snap the Leopards out of a lackluster first half, going on a personal seven-point run in the third quarter and finishing with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists to help Smithsburg stay alone in second place in the MVAL Antietam with a 62-52 victory over the rival Warriors.

Bentley scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and made three straight shots - the last a 3-pointer - to give the Leopards (8-4, 6-1) a 40-33 lead.

"All year, the kid has had a tremendous year," Leopards coach Eric Gerber said. "He's a little under the radar in the area, but that's his typical game."


Behind nine points by Adam Flook and six each by Mike DeBarge and Cam Shifler, Boonsboro (6-7, 3-3) held leads of 15-10 after the first quarter and 27-25 at halftime. The Warriors forced 12 turnovers in the opening half and turned several of them into layups.

"We forced some turnovers and got out and ran," Boonsboro coach Sam Connelly said. "We kept them to one (shot) and out and got in transition."

Smithsburg seized control in the third. Andrew Bohan made one of his three 3-pointers on the night to start it, and Jon Reid's three-point play inside gave the Leopards their first lead at 31-30. It lasted for mere seconds before DeBarge answered with his own three-point play on a near-impossible baseline fadeaway for a 33-31 lead - the last the Warriors would hold.

A basket by Smithsburg's Tyler King tied the game, and Bentley took over from there. Chris Brown's 3 late in the quarter was another dagger in Boonsboro's side, and the Leopards carried a 44-35 lead into the fourth.

"First half, we were really flat and coach told us we needed to pick it up," Bentley said. "Bohan hit a big shot, and I had a couple open looks and let fire. ... We were hustling and diving on the floor more and had a lot more open looks."

Boonsboro cut the lead down to four with 2:42 to play, but Smithsburg made 7 of 8 free throws in a 10-0 run - started by a Bentley 3-pointer - that sealed the victory. The final four points came from free throws that were a direct result of Connelly's ill-timed technical foul at the 1:10 mark for protesting a call.

"They shot the ball really well and we got out of sync offensively," Connelly said. "Smithsburg stepped up, pressured the ball better and tried to force things inside. When we slipped behind, we started to press a little bit and got out of rhythm."

The Leopards made 12 of 16 free throws in the final eight minutes and 20 of 25 overall, led by Robby Hall, who made all six of his attempts in the final 1:10. In contrast, the Warriors made 7 of 10 free throws and did not go to the foul line in the first half.

Smithsburg also had an edge on the boards in a battle of two guard-oriented squads, outrebounding Boonsboro, 31-19.

"We had to work on our rebounding a lot since we lost our 7-footer (Clay Marquiss, who graduated last year)," Bentley said. "We've been doing a lot of boxing-out drills and it helps us a lot."

"That's a point of emphasis," Gerber said. We're not big, so we need our guards to rebound."

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