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Leopards gain some revenge over Catoctin

February 02, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com

THURMONT, Md. — When Smithsburg’s girls basketball team fell to Catoctin 40-39 on Jan. 4, the Leopards scored just 19 points in the first three quarters and trailed by 13 entering the final quarter.

On Wednesday, Smithsburg played a first quarter that was reminiscent of that first game against the Cougars. Then Katie Sprecher snapped the Leopards out of it and put them on the path to a possible MVAL Antietam championship.

Sprecher scored 23 points — 16 in the middle two quarters — and Smithsburg used a 27-6 run over a 14-minute stretch to take a 32-19 lead on the way to a 51-39 victory over Catoctin.

“It’s a big win,” Sprecher said. “I’ve been ready for this game since the last time. It took us a little while to get in a groove, but we finally found it. We were prepared for them. We worked the ball around, made the extra pass and found the open man.”

With the win, Smithsburg (14-1, 9-1) set up a first-place showdown with North Hagerstown (9-4, 9-1) on Friday at North. The loser of Friday’s game will fall into a second-place tie with Catoctin (13-4, 9-2). The Hubs and Cougars will play later this season.

The Leopards had a dreary first quarter, turning the ball over 10 times to none for Catoctin. After Sprecher opened the game with a 3-pointer, the Cougars went on a 13-2 run for a 13-5 lead with 1:12 left in the quarter.

Catoctin could have really made Smithsburg pay — the Cougars took 13 more shots in the period than the Leopards — but they made just 6 of 21 shots in the period, part of a 14-for-57 shooting night (24.5 percent) that spelled doom.

“We buckled down after the first quarter,” Leopards coach Katy Barnhart said. “We took better care of the ball, started passing it around and got open looks.”

Trailing 17-13 with four minutes left in the first half, Sprecher made three field goals, including two 3s — the second coming just before the halftime buzzer — to fuel a 12-0 run as Smithsburg entered the break with a 25-17 lead.

“That last shot was pretty big,” Sprecher said. “It gave us the momentum and got us pumped for the second half.”

“She put us on her back in that quarter, settled us down and hit some shots, which is what she always does,” Barnhart said.

Sprecher scored eight more points in the third quarter — her last of four 3s made it 41-26 entering the final period — and Catoctin never got within eight points in the final 14 minutes.

Sara Rishell had 11 points, eight rebounds, six blocks and three assists for Smithsburg. With Sprecher adding five rebounds and two blocks, the Cougars couldn’t get anything going inside — they were outrebounded 38-28 and had numerous shots blocked or altered — and they didn’t shoot well enough from outside to make up for it.

Alexis Andrukat had nine points and three assists for the Leopards. Apryl Lee added six rebounds. With her 23 points, Sprecher has 985 in her high school career and could pass the 1,000-point milestone against North.

Caroline Grossweiler scored 12 points, Tara Woelfel had 11 and Kendall Zickefoose added 10 for Catoctin.

JV: Catoctin, 45-25 (S: Kinsey Shifflett 10).

Smithsburg 51, Catoctin 39
SMITHSBURG (14-1, 9-1)

Sprecher 7 5-7 23, Rishell 5 1-3 11, Andrukat 3 2-2 9, Owens 1 1-3 3, Lee 1 0-0 2, Belell 1 0-0 2, Harbaugh 0 1-2 1. Totals 18-40 10-17 51.
CATOCTIN (13-4, 9-2)
Grossweiler 3 6-9 12, Zickefoose 5 0-0 10, Woelfel 4 3-6 11, Cole 2 0-0 5, E. Phelan 0 1-2 1. Totals 14-57 10-17 39.
Smithsburg    8    17    16    10    —    51
Catoctin    13    4    9    13    —    39

3-point goals — Smithsburg 5 (Sprecher 4, Andrukat), Catoctin 1 (Cole). Rebounds — Smithsburg 38 (Rishell 8), Catoctin 38. Assists — Smithsburg 11 (Rishell 3, Andrukat 3). Steals — Smithsburg 3. Turnovers — Smithsburg 22, Catoctin 8. Fouled out — Zickefoose.

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