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Leopards shot down by Saints

December 15, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

SMITHSBURG - Shoot 54 percent and slap down some pretty good defense, chances are excellent you're going to win a game.

Shoot 31 percent, chances are pretty good you are talking about a loss.

St. James had the superior shooting touch, hitting 20 of 37 shots from the floor, and it led to a 58-51 win over Smithsburg on Thursday night. Conversely, Smithsburg could connect on only 19 of 61 shots, including 4 of 23 from 3-point range.

Saints coach Mike Brooks was overly enthusiastic about the well-rounded game his club had played, considering he was missing two players.

"(Spencer) Draper had a great floor game running the offense, and he did a great job on defense," said Brooks, who was missing regular starter Drew St. Lawrence along with reserve Cyrus Morgan. "And (Colin) McWilliams and (Ben) Farquhar hounded No. 20 (Smithsburg's Jimmy Burgess) all night."

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At the other end of the Saints' bench, the offensive punch came from T.K. Washington, Eddie Dorsey and Mike Russ.

The 6-foot-4 Washington, who led St. James with 11 rebounds, scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the second half when the Saints took control of the contest.

Dorsey, scoreless in the first half, scored all 13 of his points in the second half. Russ, saddled with two personal fouls less than two minutes into the game, ended with 11 points and seven boards.

The Saints (4-2) were 8-of-13 inside the arc and 3-of-4 from beyond in the second half.

"We had to go small when Russ had the foul trouble and that made us put our game on defense," said Brooks. "But, when he came back in, he got into a phenomenal flow on offense and that just made us a better team inside and out. And T.K. has made a commitment to this team by working so hard and leading by example."

How bad was it for Smithsburg?

Shortly after Dorsey came out of the lockers at halftime with five quick points to give the Saints a 28-20 lead that stretched to 34-28, the Leopards had five straight shots inside of five feet they missed - on one possession.

"In our first two games we shot poorly, but tonight we not only did that, but we took very bad shots," said Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber.

"We wanted to stop Russ, and when he went out, we didn't take advantage of that. Plus we had too many turnovers," he said.

The Leopards, playing virtually the entire game without 6-4 center Jon Reid, managed to stay close, down 37-32 with 2:35 left in the third period. Reid did not play the first half and tried to make a go of it on a sprained ankle, scoring four points in minimal time in the third quarter.

At the outset of the final quarter, Dorsey took a good chunk of heart out of Smithsburg. The 5-10 senior guard scored back-to-back 3-pointers and the Saints jumped out to a 46-32 lead.

Steve Whitt, teaming with Terry Sword in place of Reid, led Smithsburg (1-2) with 11 points.

"(Whitt) uses his body well inside for being undersized and has played well the last two games, but we just couldn't match up with Washington inside," said Gerber.

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