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Smith, Wildcats ruin Tuscarora coach's return home

January 10, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

WILLIAMSPORT - Brooke Crawford took a left turn onto Memory Lane and returned to Williamsport High School on Wednesday.

Back in the day, the first-year Tuscarora coach was known as Brooke Weimer, practically living in the gym while playing for the Wildcats' athletic teams.

On this night, Crawford may have come home, but only to find out that house is currently Morgan Smith's residence.

Smith scored a game-high 23 points, but played a vital part in Williamsport's total floor game as the Wildcats spread the offense around for a convincing 61-44 win over the Titans.

"We came in here wanting to win," Crawford said, admitting this wasn't a return to remember. "We expected to win and to come in here and not win was disappointing. They beat us from the start."

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The Titans (3-6) never got the chance to get out of the gate as Williamsport took a quick 6-0 lead and never led by less than that for the rest of the game. Jess Ellis, who defined the Wildcats' team approach with 18 points, scored four and Smith added two in that early stretch.

"For the last three games, we have had only one way to play - team," said Williamsport coach Chris Malott. "We are starting to get that 'C' word - confidence."

Smith has been the glue for Williamsport (4-6) with her versatility. She posted up early in the game and then became one of the ball-handlers to start the Wildcats' offense. Smith scored 16 in the first half and then ran the point in the second half.

Smith's total left her seven points shy of the 1,000-point career milestone, which she will try to surpass on Friday against Smithsburg.

"That's Morgan. She's a special player. When Brooke was here, she was a team player, too," Malott said. "She plays inside and outside and she distributes the ball. That's why she's going to be going where she will be going next year (Division I Longwood University)."

Williamsport pushed out to a 21-11 halftime lead by finding open players for scores and collapsing around Tuscarora's players for steals on defense.

Smith scored five points and Hannah Petro added three foul shots to ignite an 11-6 run to open the second quarter to build a 32-19 lead before hanging on for a 38-28 lead at the intermission.

"Everything ... everything was going their way," Crawford said. "It was a good game when both teams were hustling and playing hard, but they deserve to win."

Williamsport used a 9-5 run to take a 47-33 lead as Smith scored four points and the Wildcats' defense became more stingy. Smith was given the task of controlling the tempo of the offense to keep Williamsport in control.

The Wildcats held a 49-40 lead after three quarters and closed the game by holding Tuscarora to four points in the fourth quarter.

Smith added 10 rebounds while Kelly Beard had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Jessica Humphrey led Tuscarora with 14 points, including four 3-pointers, while Lynasa Frazier had 12.

"That was a Class 3A team and a good team," Malott said. "This was a huge win for us."

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