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Rockets put Gaels away in the second half

December 30, 2008|By CURT HORNBECKER

SMITHSBURG -- Matt Piper is probably wishing he had recorded his halftime speech Monday night.

Trailing 25-20 at the intermission, Piper's James Buchanan girls basketball team allowed just 11 second-half points -- including just three in the final 12 minutes -- and ran off with a 52-36 victory over St. Maria Goretti in the nightcap of Smithsburg's annual Pap Draper Classic.

"We were a little bit lackadaisical in the first half," said Piper. "Our defense is something we take pride in. Giving up (25) points in the first half was unacceptable, but we really picked up our defensive effort."

In the opening game, Smithsburg's 'AA' team rebounded after a slow start to upend Smithsburg's 'A' team 44-23 to earn a berth in the tournament championship game tonight.

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The 'AA' Leopards ran off 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, while holding the 'A' team scoreless in the final eight minutes.

While the James Buchanan defense was busy forcing 46 turnovers, the Rockets also increased their intensity on the offensive boards, taking 34 second-half field goal tries to just 12 for the Gaels.

"Were just making too many mental mistakes right now," said Goretti coach Todd Rideout. "They put some pressure on us, and we just turned the ball over. They got a lot of second and third shots, and we did a bad job boxing out. They played hard, and we played awful."

Anna Angle was especially active on the glass for the Rockets, pouring in 16 second-half points, many of which were second-chance buckets.

"With her aggressiveness and her intensity, when she goes to the glass, the others seem to follow," said Piper.

For the first 16 minutes, the Gaels seemed to have things under control, with Colleen Costello and Angie Navarez combining for 18 of the Gaels' 25 points, while the Rockets made just four of 14 first-quarter field-goal attempts. But the Goretti tandem was stifled by JB's swarming defense, scoring just five points and only one field goal.

Katie Sprecher sparked the 'AA' Leopards, finishing with 24 points. Elisa Owens' eight points led the Smithsburg 'A' team, which will face Goretti in tonight's consolation game.

Smithsburg 'AA' 44, Smithsburg 'A' 23
SMITHSBURG 'A'

Hudson 6, Harbaugh 2, Owens 8, Lee 1, Scott 2, Bachtell 4. Totals 9 5-12 23.
SMITHSBURG 'AA'
Hargreaves 5, Andrukat 3, Sprecher 24, Luipersbeck 6, Rishell 4, Robinson 2. Totals 15 12-21 44.
Smithsburg 'A' 6 7 10 0 -- 23
Smithsburg 'AA' 7 13 11 13 -- 44

3-point goals -- Smithsburg AA 2 (Andrukat, Hargreaves).

James Buchanan 52, Goretti 36
JAMES BUCHANAN (4-5)

Amsley 4, Espinosa 9, Harryman 1, Estep 9, Angle 18, Upperman 3, Cristofano 6, Quivers 2. Totals 23 5-16 52.
ST. MARIA GORETTI (4-6)
Ka. Cronise 3, Shoop 2, Costello 12, Garvey 8, Navarez 11. Totals 15 6-14 36.
James Buchanan 8 12 20 12 -- 52
Goretti 12 13 8 3 -- 36

3-point goals -- James Buchanan 1 (Estep). Fouled out -- Costello (SMG).

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