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Leopards disconnect down stretch to short out charge to region crown

March 05, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Smithsburg's Katie Sprecher pulls the ball away from Northern Garrett's Allison Yommer in the second quarter Saturday.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

FREDERICK, Md. — Saturday’s Maryland Class 1A West girls basketball final came down to one huge shot that Northern Garrett made and three shots Smithsburg missed.

Terra McKenzie drained a 3-pointer with 1:45 left to give the Huskies a 49-47 lead before the Leopards’ final attempts to tie the game came up empty as Northern Garrett prevailed 52-47 at Frederick Community College.

Smithsburg (23-2) had a 17-game winning streak snapped and was denied a second straight trip to the state tournament. The Leopards won the 1A West last year and reached the state final.

“You can’t take anything away from our players,” Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart said. “They poured their guts out, put it all on the line and that’s all you can ask for. They lost to a very good team.”

Katie Sprecher — who was often spectacular while scoring 22 points for the Leopards — missed a 13-footer in the lane with 1:25 left. McKenzie grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws with 1:21 left to give Northern (22-4) a 50-47 lead.

Smithsburg then had two more chances to tie, but Taylor Belella missed a 3-point try from the right corner with 1:05 to play and Elisa Owens’ heavily contested 3-point try from the same spot fell short — after being partially blocked — with 15 seconds left. The Huskies grabbed both rebounds and McKenzie sank two free throws with 11.7 seconds left to ice the game.

The scoring duel between Sprecher and Northern guard Kaitlyn Fratz was worth the price of admission alone. Fratz displayed her quickness, ball handling and shooting touch on the way to a game-high 25 points.

“(Defending her) was difficult,” Barnhart said. “Taylor (Belella) did the best job anyone could do. She was fantastic for four quarters. I don’t know anyone who could defend her as well as she did.”

Sprecher came close to matching Fratz, scoring with a variety of short jumpers, 3-pointers, drives and spins in both directions. She also had six rebounds as part of Smithsburg’s 41-28 edge on the glass. Sara Rishell had 11 points and 17 rebounds, and Danielle Harbaugh added six points and eight rebounds.

“Katie is an excellent player. All three seniors came to play today,” Barnhart said. “(The loss) wasn’t because of a lack of effort. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”

McKenzie finished with 20 points — 17 in the second half — for Northern, which made 12 of 14 free throws while Smithsburg made just 11 of 21 — and just 4 of 11 in the second half.

Smithsburg used a 7-0 run, including five points by Sprecher, to close the first quarter with an 18-12 lead. A 5-0 run late in the second quarter gave the Leopards a 27-19 lead before Fratz’s driving lefty layup made it 27-21 at halftime.

Northern started the second half with a 7-1 run, including five points by McKenzie, to tie the game at 28 with 5:02 left in the third quarter. From there, neither team took more than a three-point lead until McKenzie’s free throws in the closing seconds.

Northern Garrett 52, Smithsburg 47
NORTHERN GARRETT (22-4)

Fratz 9 5-6 25, Yommer 2 0-0 4, McKenzie 5 7-8 20, Brenneman 1 0-0 3. Totals 18-49 12-14 52.
SMITHSBURG (23-2)
Rishell 3 5-9 11, Andrukat 1 0-2 3, Sprecher 9 3-3 22, Lee 1 1-2 3, Harbaugh 3 0-2 6, Owens 0 2-2 2. Totals 17-45 11-21 47.
Northern    12    9    15    16    —    52
Smithsburg    18    9    10    10    —    47

3-point goals — Northern 6 (Fratz 2, McKenzie 3, Brenneman), Smithsburg 2 (Andrukat, Sprecher). Rebounds — Northern 28, Smithsburg 41 (Rishell 17). Assists — Smithsburg 11 (Belella 4). Steals — Smithsburg 3 (Belella, Sprecher, Rishell). Turnovers — Northern 10, Smithsburg 18. Fouled out — Andrukat.

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