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'Cats turn Antietam into a 2-team race

February 11, 2006|By CURT HORNBECKER

WILLIAMSPORT -

Forty-five days ago, after dropping its fourth straight game, Williamsport's boys basketball team appeared destined for mediocrity.

Since then, however, the No. 7 Wildcats have won seven straight and 10 of their last 11, including a two-point victory over North Hagerstown eight days ago to create a tie for the top spot in the MVAL Antietam and a 42-35 win over Smithsburg Friday night to effectively make the league championship a two-team race.

The win over the Leopards avenges the Wildcats' only loss of the season in league play.

"We're on a roll," said Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray. "We're playing very confident. It wasn't a masterpiece tonight, but we took what they gave us, and we're hoping we can build on it. We're still in the hunt for the MVAL title."

What Smithsburg (11-7, 8-4) gave them was enough room in the paint for Phillip Jordan to drive to the bucket and either draw a foul or convert the layup.

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"Our game plan is normally from the outside," said Jordan, who scored a game-high 13 points. "Our jump shots set up our inside game. But tonight we had a size advantage, and we wanted to go inside."

Jordan's seven first-half points allowed Williamsport (12-5, 10-1) to forge a five-point advantage at the half, and his four points in the fourth period helped keep the surging Leopards at bay.

"Phillip Jordan was the difference in the game," said Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber. "He just played tremendous for them. We had our best defender on him, and he just kept making plays."

Trailing 21-16 at the half, the Leopards reeled off a 9-2 run to establish a three-point edge that held up until consecutive layups by Will Taylor and Jordan put Williamsport up 30-29 entering after three quarters.

While Andrew Bentley began warming up for Smithsburg in the fourth period, the rest of the Leopards went stone cold, as Bentley's six points in the fourth accounted for all of Smithsburg's scoring.

The Leopards finished the game hitting just 15 of 45 field goals (33 percent), including just 2 of 14 (14 percent) from beyond the arc.

"We missed some shots that we usually make," said Gerber. "We didn't shoot as well as we can, and we missed too many opportunities against a good team. We just missed too many open shots."

Andrew Bohan's 10 first-half points kept Smithsburg within striking distance in the first 16 minutes.

After the 3:41 mark of the first period, the Leopards did not make a trip to the free-throw line for the remainder of the game.

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