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Blazers' complete effort tops Leopards

January 30, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

CLEAR SPRING -- Whether it's coaching basketball or baseball, nothing pleases Clear Spring's Mark Shives more than watching a "complete game."

The Blazers' coach witnessed just such an event Tuesday night as his team -- thanks in part to a 34-for-47 effort from the foul line -- defeated Smithsburg 79-67 in MVAL Antietam action.

"It was a complete game, start to finish," Shives said. "We established ourselves early, regained our composure when they made that third quarter run, and had excellent play from our guards and big men. A great team game -- that made it special."

After trailing by scores of 19-0 and 11-0 in the first quarter of the last two contests, Shives wanted to see a change.

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"We needed to set the tempo early and establish ourselves," Shives said. "We did just that in the first quarter and then really put things together in the second quarter."

Clear Spring senior Keith Gilchrist had a tremendous first half, scoring 19 of his 22 points, while a balanced offensive attack in the final 16 minutes held Smithsburg at bay.

The teams traded baskets for much of the first period before Clear Spring (9-6, 3-3), trailing 21-14 at the end of the first, went on a scoring flurry in the second quarter and grabbed a 40-27 halftime advantage.

Smithsburg (3-13, 1-5) made a determined run in the third period, but Clear Spring regained its composure and held the upper hand the rest of the way.

Smithsburg JV coach Mike Williams filled in for head varsity coach Eric Gerber, who was serving a one-game suspension.

"The effort was there, we just couldn't keep pace with them in the second quarter," Williams said. "We're really not that bad of a ball club. We usually have problems in the fourth quarter. Tonight it was the second."

Smithsburg connected on seven 3-pointers -- including three by Jason Kendall and two by Josh Conway -- and refused to quit.

Ten different players hit the scoring column, with Conway's 15 points leading the way.

"We used a lot of players and, if there is a silver lining, the guys coming off the bench did a tremendous job," Williams said. "We should be competitive with the rest of our schedule. We just need to get some confidence and stay away from the bad quarter."

Clear Spring had eight players in the scoring column -- including double-digit efforts from Gilchrist, Brandon Glazer (13) and Jordan Lavender (12).

"I was real pleased with Lavender," Shives said. "It's the best game he has played. He made a huge difference. And hitting foul shots is always important. That's the best we've done all season."

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