Leopards get best of Cougars

March 03, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE |
  • Smithsburg's Katie Sprecher shoots over a Catoctin defender Thursday night in the Maryland Class 1A West Region East Sectional final.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

SMITHSBURG — There’s no hiding in Class 1A West region girls basketball that somewhere in the playoffs Smithsburg and Catoctin are going to battle one another.

For the fourth straight year the two teams met in the postseason, and like one year ago on its way to the state tournament, Smithsburg ousted Catoctin on Thursday night 52-34 in the East Sectional final.

Saturday at noon at Frederick Community College, Smithsburg will take on Northern Garrett, a surprise 72-57 winner over Allegany, for the West region title and a berth in the state tournament at UMBC.

“We came to play four quarters and had intensity the whole game,” said senior Katie Sprecher, who led Smithsburg with 18 points, which included a 9-for-11 performance at the foul line.

The two teams went 1-1 against each other in the regular season, each winning on the road. But Thursday ended up being the most decisive of the games.

Smithsburg (23-1), after a 6-2 start with Sara Rishell scoring three quick buckets, lost some magic and fell behind 15-9 early in the second quarter.

The Leopards remained patient with their offense, picking their passing lanes and getting inside, resulting in a pair of free throws by Sprecher and back-to-back buckets by Lee Owens.

Owens’ second shot was a 3-pointer from the corner that gave the Leopards a 16-15 lead at the 4:29 mark.

“We started strong with Sara but then we stopped penetrating the paint,” said Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart. “Then we got back to being strong with the ball to come back.”

A 24-23 halftime lead quickly turned into a second-half, one-team performance.

The Leopards kept Catoctin (17-8) off the scoreboard for more than four minutes in the third period and another five minutes in the fourth.

Taylor Belella had a 3-pointer and a 2-pointer that fueled a run that pushed Smithsburg to a 33-25 lead with 3:10 to go in the third. Belella then finished off the period with another 3, giving Smithsburg a 40-27 lead. For the majority of the quarter, Rishell rode the bench with three personal fouls.

The Leopards went on a 11-2 binge to open the fourth and decide the outcome.

Catoctin’s inability to put the ball through the nets was huge, hitting only 12 of 59 shots for 20.3 percent while Smithsburg was slightly better at 14 of 45 for 31 percent. The big difference came at the foul line as Smithsburg went 20 of 30 and Catoctin 8 of 9.

“We had some combo defensive packages in the second half and those pushed them away from the basket,” said Barnhart. “(Catoctin) has the shooters, but for one stretch early, they weren’t efficient.”

Belella finished with 10 points and seven rebounds and Rishell had nine points and eight rebounds.

Tara Wohlfel led Catoctin with eight points and nine rebounds, but hit only 3 of 12 from the floor. Another top Catoctin scorer, Caroline Grossweiler, was held to six points before fouling out.

“We got into foul trouble and needed Caroline in there because that gives (Smithsburg) a mismatch,” said Catoctin coach Amy Entwhistle. “Our strength is getting inside and we didn’t do that and our shots didn’t fall.”

Smithsburg 52, Catoctin 34

Grossweiler 2-6 2-2 6, Zickafoose 2-11 2-2 7, Wohlfel 3-12 2-3 8, Morgan 3-9 0-0 6, E. Phelan 0-4 0-0 0, K. Phelan 0-7 2-2 2, Marlow 1-5 0-0 3, Hackney 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Clemons 0-1 0-0 0, Harig 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 12-59 8-9 34.
Belella 3-10 2-2 10, Sprecher 4-15 9-11 18, Rishell 4-8 1-3 0, Andrukat 0-5 6-8 6, Lee 0-5 6-8 6, Owens 3-4 0-0 7, Harbaugh 0-3 0-0 0, Bachtell 0-0 2-4 2, Holl 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 14-45 20-30 52.
Catoctin    13    10    4    7    —    34
Smithsburg    9    15    16    12    —    52

3-point goals—Catoctin 2 (Zickafoose, Marlow), Smithsburg 3 (Belella 2, Sprecher). Rebounds—Catoctin 36 (Wohlfel 7), Smithsburg 44 (Sprecher 12). Turnovers—Catoctin 12, Smithsburg 14). Steals—Smithsburg 4 (Belella 2). Assists—Smithsburg 9 (Andrukat 3). Fouled out—Grossweiler. Technical foul—Catoctin bench.

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