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Leopards show Hubs who's boss

February 05, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • North Hagerstown's Akatshi Osongo reacts at the final buzzer as Hubs lose 46-44 to Smithsburg on Friday night.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Akatshi Osongo sat on the floor while being consoled by her North Hagerstown teammates as Smithsburg’s girls basketball team wildly celebrated a tooth-and-nail 46-44 victory over the Hubs in a battle for first place in the MVAL Antietam on Friday night.

What started out as a sloppy mess in the first quarter blossomed into an exciting matchup.

One final missed opportunity sealed the final verdict.

As the clock was about to expire, Osongo put an uncontested shot up off the glass. The ball literally rattled inside the cylinder, and as the buzzer sounded, it bounced out of the rim, giving the win and first place in the Antietam to Smithsburg (15-1, 10-1).

“It just didn’t go for us,” said North coach Cyndi Benjamin.

The Leopards needed to reach deep inside their hearts in the final 1:24 to get the win.

Smithsburg trailed 44-41 after the Hubs (9-5, 9-2) went on an 8-0 run capped by baskets from Osongo and Corie Anderson.

Taylor Belella, who scored eight points in the third quarter, knocked down a jumper and Alexis Andrukat calmly hit two free throws to give the Leopards a 45-44 lead with 36 seconds left.

After Iman Scott missed a shot, Smithsburg’s Katie Sprecher hit 1 of 2 free throws with 11.9 seconds left for a 46-44 advantage, setting up the final play.

The two free throws by Andrukat were a big part of Smithsburg’s victory.

“They were big, real big,” said Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart. “We needed them and she came through.”

The Leopards’ success at the line in the fourth quarter was a cornerstone to the win, as they made 9 of 12 while the Hubs were only 3 of 11.

Smithsburg pulled out the win despite committing 25 turnovers.

“It took a while for us to settle in,” said Barnhart. “North wasn’t giving us any look on the inside. We were making bad passes in the first half, made some adjustments and quit forcing passes in the second half.”

Belella and Sprecher led Smithsburg with 12 points each — Sprecher is now three points away from 1,000 for her career — and Sara Rishell led the Leopards with eight rebounds. Belella also had five assists.

Barnhart received a strong performance off the bench from Danielle Harbaugh, who scored nine points and pulled down five rebounds.

“(Harbaugh) gave us a spark late in the first half,” said Barnhart.

North hit only 6 of 22 shots in the first half and trailed 17-15 at halftime.

“The shots just weren’t falling in the first half, so we had to go more inside,” said Benjamin.

Anderson scored 12 points to lead North, while Osongo added 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Smithsburg 46, N. Hagerstown 44
SMITHSBURG (15-1, 10-1)

Sprecher 4-10 3-4 12, Rishell 2-4 2-4 6, Belella 5-13 0-0 12, Owens 1-4 2-2 5, Harbaugh 3-4 3-3 9, Andrukat 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 15-36 12-15 46.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (9-5, 9-2)
Fisher 2-5 0-2 4, Gantt 3-6 1-2 7, Scott 2-8 0-0 5, Koterwas 2-9 1-2 5, Osongo 5-11 0-1 10, Anderson 4-8 4-8 12. Totals 18-47 6-15 43.
Smithsburg 7    10    16    13    —    46
North    4    11    14    15    —    43

3-point goals—Smithsburg 4 (Sprecher, Belella 2, Owens), North Hagerstown 1 (Scott). Rebounds—Smithsburg 29 (Rishell 7), North Hagerstown (Osongo 7). Turnovers—Smithsburg 25, North Hagerstown 15.

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