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Wildcats win East Sectional

March 03, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Williamsport senior Philip Jordan was in uniform on Thursday night, just as he has been throughout this season.

In Thursday's Maryland Class 1A West encounter between the Wildcats and Smithsburg at North Hagerstown, Jordan's first-half performance could best be described as "missing in action."

The veteran came out with a different initiative in the second half and he was a vital factor in Williamsport's 46-39 win over Smithsburg, vaulting the 'Cats into Saturday's 1A West region championship against Allegany at Fort Hill. Allegany defeated Beall, 66-57.

Offering no excuses, Jordan said, "I didn't come ready to play. I wanted to play but wasn't ready."

Smithsburg was aggressive in a dominating first half and led 25-18 at the break behind Andrew Bentley's nine points, but the Leopards were also in foul trouble, with Bentley, Tyler King and Andrew Bohan having to play somewhat cautiously in the second half.

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Jordan, with only one rebound and zero shot attempts in the first half, immediately became the aggressor in the third period.

He hit a leaner early, followed it with two free throws after a drive in the paint, then hit another runner, all in the first 3:30 of the quarter. After a goal by Smithsburg's Josh Edwards gave Smithsburg a 29-25 lead, Jordan came back with a putback goal.

Tim Alexander knotted the game at 29-29 with a jumper at the 2:31 mark, Chad Bikle added a free throw and the Wildcats were up 30-29 heading to the fourth.

"Coach asked me at halftime, 'Where was I at? Do I want to be out there?'" said Jordan. "I went out and decided I wanted the ball."

Will Taylor opened the fourth with a goal for the Wildcats, and Robby Hall followed with a 3-pointer for the Leopards to forge a 32-32 tie at the 7:32 mark. Tyler Beard made 1 of 2 foul shots to give Williamsport a 33-32 lead it would never relinquish.

After taking a 36-32 lead on a trey by Alexander, Williamsport began to take the air out of the ball on its next possession. From the 5:46 mark until 2:53, Alexander stood at midcourt, holding the basketball, unchallenged.

"That was neat," he said. "That's when you know you have control of the game."

The Wildcats got back in motion as Jordan scored on a reverse layup and Taylor and Chad Bikle followd with goals. A 3-pointer by Hall got the Leopards back to within three at 42-39 with 30 seconds left, but Williamsport closed the game with two free throws each from Alexander and Jordan.

Bohan eventually fouled out for Smithsburg, while Williamsport's clean second-half play hampered any Leopaards challenge. With only two team fouls, Williamsport took time off the clock during Smithsburg's possessions with four on-the-floor fouls that took the Leopards out of any offensive cohesion.

"We go as Philip goes," said Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray. "He was tentative and not aggressive in the first half."

Jordan finished with 13 points to tie Alexander for team honors, while Taylor was a force inside for the Wildcats with 11 points and a team-best 12 rebounds.

"(Phil) is the key factor for us," said Alexander. "When he is on, there isn't any team that can match with him."

Bentley led the Leopards with 15 points and Hall chipped in with 10. King had seven points and seven rebounds.

"We've started well in the first quarter all year," said Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber. "We executed, played good defense on the weak side and worked off ball screens."

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