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Smithsburg seniors own the night

February 20, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

SMITHSBURG - The Smithsburg boys basketball team celebrated Senior Night in its truest form Tuesday.

All five senior starters scored and they accounted for all but 10 Leopards points to post a 58-47 MVAL Antietam win against Boonsboro - their fifth straight victory.

Steve Whitt had 16 points, Dan Rishell 12, Josh Edwards 10 and Terry Sword added eight for the Leopards (8-13, 4-5). Patrick Springer, in for the injured Josh Conway, rounded out the starting five and hit a pair of free throws.

Andrew Dinterman was the only Leopards senior to come off the bench, but was quickly in foul trouble.

"We've relied heavily on our seniors all year," said Leopards coach Eric Gerber. "Tonight was Senior Night, but we went with our regular gameplan."

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Whitt scored 11 points in the first half as the Leopards took a 30-23 lead into halftime. Boonsboro (5-15, 3-6) closed the gap to 34-31 on a bucket by Jordan Young with 3:05 left in the third quarter, but Smithsburg answered with a 13-2 run to regain control.

The Leopards hit 22 of 40 shots (55 percent), nearly doubling Boonsboro's field goal percentage - the Warriors went 15-for-52 (28.8 percent).

"They were a lot more patient and shot the ball very well. They didn't force much of anything," said Boonsboro coach John Taylor. "They packed their zone in and unfortunately we didn't shoot well at all."

Boonsboro's ability to avoid turnovers was the only thing that kept the Warriors from suffering a much bigger defeat. The Warriors lost the ball just twice in the first half and eight times in the game.

Still, it wasn't enough for the Warriors to compete down the stretch against the streaking Leopards, who haven't lost since Jan. 29. Since then, Smithsburg is 5-0, winning by an average margin of 9.4 points.

Before that, the Leopards had lost seven straight, including a 62-43 drubbing at Boonsboro on Jan. 15.

"Obviously, we're playing a little better," Gerber said. "Early in the year, we blew too many second-half leads - we've been ahead in 16 of our 21 games. We just kept on the guys to stay positive.

"With the Maryland playoff system the way it is where everyone gets in, we want to be playing well at the end of the season."

Whitt and Edwards each had six rebounds and Steve Kretzer had five assists for Smithsburg, which wraps up its regular season next Tuesday against Catoctin.

Shane Zbir led Boonsboro with 14 points, while Adam Chambers scored 12.

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