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All-County Girls Basketball -- Barnhart takes Leopards back to states

April 03, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN
  • Katy Barnhart
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In Katy Barnhart's final two seasons as a player on Smithsburg's girls basketball team, the Leopards reached the state tournament in 2002 and 2003.

It took Barnhart two seasons as head coach to return Smithsburg back to the state tournament for the first time since her senior year.

"It was an amazing experience," said Barnhart, the 2010 Herald-Mail Washington County Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.

The Leopards went 21-4 overall and 11-1 in the MVAL Antietam to win the conference title before advancing all the way to the Maryland Class 1A state final for the first time since 2002.

"It's such a joy to be part of a team like that, that was truly a team," Barnhart said. "They worked together very well and got along well. It was an easy experience, all we had to do was coach, we didn't have to worry about grades or chemistry issues."

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Last year, Barnhart guided a very young Leopards squad to a 15-8 record and an 8-2 mark for second place in the Antietam -- when the league did not include North Hagerstown or South Hagerstown.

This year's team was still extremely young -- only senior Emily Hargreaves will graduate -- meaning Smithsburg should make serious noise next season.

"I wish it started tomorrow," Barnhart said. "We're excited about next year. Emily was phenomenal the whole year, she did all the little things. She was a great example for the rest of the team, she wasn't a selfish senior, she wanted to win games and would do anything to win. The girls rallied around her.

"(This season was) a testimony to their work ethic as players. They work extremely hard all the time in practice and had a group of leaders who wouldn't accept anything less than that. They were very dedicated."

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