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Improving Leopards roll over Rebels

February 09, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

SMITHSBURG -- The Smithsburg girls basketball team scored a season-high 71 points Friday night against South Hagerstown.

Half that total would have been more than enough.

Emily Hargreaves led Smithsburg with 15 points, Bethany Garnand had 11 and Chelsea Hoover added 10 as the Leopards rolled to a 71-25 victory to sweep the season series with the Rebels.

"We're probably playing as well as we have all year," said Leopards coach Ed Hargreaves. "We wanted to come out and do our best to turn our defense into offense and create as many opportunities as possible."

Smithsburg (8-10) took advantage of 37 turnovers, executed in transition and hit 27 of 56 shots (48.2 percent). The Leopards made 21 steals, with Hoover leading the swarm with eight.

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"They used some different defenses on us and we didn't adjust," said South coach Ray Singletary. "I can't just call a timeout every time the defense switches. We're still having a tough time figuring how to do that. It's a process."

South's defense held its own early and the Rebels only trailed 6-3 with just over two minutes left in the first quarter. But Smithsburg answered with a 17-2 run covering 3:03 and closed the first half with the last six points for a 29-10 halftime lead.

If that wasn't enough, the Leopards hit their first five shots of the third quarter and outscored the Rebels 22-4 for a 51-14 edge.

Marissa Luipersbeck added nine points, while freshman Sara Rishell was all over with seven points, 10 rebounds, five blocks, five steals and three assists. Hoover finished with six assists.

"At this point last year we'd won five games. Right now we have eight with a good opportunity to win 10 or 11," Hargreaves said. "At the beginning of the season we didn't have a number in mind, we just wanted to improve from last year. We just want to get better every game."

Those sentiments were echoed by Singletary, whose Rebels -- shorthanded and young as they are -- dropped to 0-16. Freshman Megan Duckworth led the team with 10 points, six rebounds and four steals.

"I definitely see improvement. Teams are just more experienced that we are," said Singletary. "I just tell them to keep playing and keep trying to find openings. If they stick with it, they'll continue to get better."

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