"I thought the guys did a very good job, without a timeout, of getting a great shot at the end of the game," said Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber. "Sometimes they go and sometimes they don't. (Kretzer) is a good 3-point shooter - he had just knocked down a big one - so that's a good shot."
Kretzer hit a 3 with 18 seconds left to cap a 7-0 Smithsburg run and make the score 50-49. The Hubs turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds pass to give the Leopards an opportunity to pull out the win.
North had three turnovers in the final 1:08 to keep the Leopards in it.
"I thought we handled the ball well all night," Hartman said, "except at the end of the game."
The teams battled through seven ties and 14 lead changes before North went ahead for good at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Hubs trailed 31-27 early in the third quarter before Hartman called a timeout and vented his frustration. After the 30-second break, the Hubs outscored Smithsburg 16-6 and took a 43-37 lead with 5:05 left in the game.
In a key play during the stretch, Anthony Lee got a defensive rebound in the final seconds of the third quarter, pushed it ahead on a fast break and found Tyler Spencer for a layup at the buzzer to knot the game at 37.
"That was a big swing," Gerber said. "We were up two with the ball and a great shot with five seconds left. Then they get the rebound and get it up the floor and it's a four-point swing."
An Allen Sandberg 3 - his third of the game - gave North a 50-42 lead with 2:03 left, but the Hubs were held scoreless the rest of the way as Smithsburg attempted its comeback.
Sandberg finished with 13 points, while Brent Bell had team-highs of 14 points and six rebounds for the Hubs. Joe Mattei had eight points and four steals and Lee had six assists.
Josh Conway had 12 points and six assists, while Dan Rishell added 11 points and six rebounds for Smithsburg. Kretzer and Josh Edwards each scored eight, while Terry Sword came off the bench and led the Leopards with nine rebounds.