Leopards shake up 'D' to nip Wildcats

March 01, 2011|By JACK HILL III | Staff Correspondent
  • Williamsport's Chelsea Scott, left, tries to keep the ball away from Smthsburg's Alexis Andrukat during Tuesday night's Maryland Class 1A West Region East Sectional semifinal game.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

SMITHSBURG — The top-seeded Smithsburg girls basketball team rallied from a 21-8 deficit midway through the second quarter to capture a 40-28 win over Williamsport on Tuesday night in a Maryland Class 1A West Region East Sectional semifinal playoff game.

Smithsburg (22-1) earned its 16th straight win and will host Catoctin (17-7) in the East Sectional championship game Thursday night at 7.

“We just decided to mix it up a little bit defensively in the second half,” Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart said. “We were very focused on playing defense as a group. We executed on offense when we had to. Our outstanding defensive play really sparked us.”

Six-foot-two senior center Sara Rishell finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way.

“It’s a great feeling,” Rishell said about the victory. “We are the type of team that does not give up. We have been in that situation before and we know what to do. The coaches told us at halftime to stay calm and stay focused. We just remained calm and pulled through.”

Senior Katie Sprecher scored a game-high 15 points and added seven rebounds for the Leopards.

“We stepped it up in the second half,” Sprecher said. “We started making the extra pass, looking for the open person and hitting the big shots. We played well together and started to have more intensity. We turned up our defense and limited them to one shot. We rebounded well. It was close, but we pulled through.”

Williamsport (8-16) went on an 11-2 run in the first 4:42 of the second quarter to build its 21-8 lead. Guard Victoria Key — who was called up from the JV team for the playoffs — scored all of her team-high nine points on a trio of 3-pointers during the Wildcats’ run.

Smithsburg scored the last five points of the first half to reduce the deficit to 21-13 at halftime. The Leopards outscored the Wildcats 27-7 in the second half.

“We played an outstanding first half and Smithsburg played an outstanding second half,” Williamsport coach Chris Malott said. “Smithsburg is a senior team and they know how to win. They know how to play with a lot of confidence. But we are a team of the future.”

Stacey Christy pulled down nine rebounds for the Wildcats.

Smithsburg 40, Williamsport 28

Gulnac 0 0-2 0, Arnone 2 1-4 5, Scott 1 0-0 2, Christy 3 2-4 8, Myers 1 0-0 2, Ewing 1 0-0 2, Key 3 0-0 9. Totals 11 3-10 28.
Belella 1 0-0 2, Andrukat 0 4-6 4, Sprecher 5 4-8 15, Owens 3 0-0 6, Rishell 6 1-1 13, Harbaugh 0 0-1 0. Totals 15 9-16 40.
Williamsport    10    11    6    1    —    28
Smithsburg    6    7    17    10    —    40

3-point goals — Williamsport 3 (Key 3), Smithsburg 1 (Sprecher).

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