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Leopards don't wait to put Blazers away

January 05, 2012|BY CURT HORNBECKER | Staff Correspondent
  • Smithsburg's Ronald Hardy takes the ball to the basket for two of his seven points against Clear Spring on Thursday night.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

SMITHSBURG — Ryan Grabill would have loved for his Clear Spring boys basketball team to exercise more patience. But Smithsburg would have none of it.

The Leopards used their quickness to force numerous turnovers and scored 33 second-quarter points to notch a 75-55 MVAL Antietam victory Thursday.

“(Smithsburg) played four guards and they switched everything,” said Grabill. “They played very good defense, and we couldn’t get the ball past half court.”

Nine of the Leopards’ 13 field goals in the second period came on layups, as Smithsburg (8-3, 5-1) hit 68 percent of their shots to claim a 42-16 lead at the half.

“Our second quarter was huge for us,” said Leopards coach Eric Gerber. “It all started with our defensive pressure. I’m not sure we ran an offensive set the entire quarter, and that’s the way we want it.”

For the first eight minutes, Clear Spring (7-3, 3-2) demonstrated patience offensively, using sometimes nearly 60 seconds to take a shot. And while the Blazers only hit two field goals in the first quarter, they managed to keep Smithsburg out of its rhythm, and only trailed 9-4 going into the second period.

“I was pleased with our defense in the first quarter,” said Grabill, “but we couldn’t score.”

Once the track meet started, everyone got involved for Smithsburg. Eight different players scored in the second period, paced by nine points from Jordan Fortson — who finished with a game-high 21 — and eight by Trent Springs.

The lead expanded to 34 in the third period before the Blazers scored nine of the last 14 points of the period to trim the margin to 30, 59-29.

Jared Brant and Ryan Aaron combined for 24 of Clear Spring’s 26 fourth-quarter points, including a pair of 3-pointers apiece, as both teams substituted liberally.

“I love to play the kids who work hard in practice, but don’t get to play very often in the games,” said Gerber. “Plus, we have three games this week, so it was good to give the other kids some rest.”

Clear Spring finished perfect from the free throw line, hitting all 11 attempts.

JV: Smithsburg, 49-36 (CS: John Henesy 10; Sm: James Shifler 12, Matt Sprecher 12).

Smithsburg 75, Clear Spring 55
CLEAR SPRING (7-3, 3-2)
S. Elwood 6, Hill 2, C. Elwood 4, Weaver 2, Aaron 14, Cornwell 2, Brandt 14, Miller 6, Mellott 3, Sensenbaugh 2, Totals 20 11-11 55.
SMITHSBURG (8-3, 5-1)
Spickler 3, Springs 12, Hardy 7, King 6, Ryan 2, Pierre 5, Fortson 21, Wynne 5, Hogue 8, Stevens 4, Bolton 2, Totals 28 11-16 75.
Clear Spring    4    12    13    26    —    55
Smithsburg    9    33    17    16    —    75
3-point goals — Clear Spring 4 (Aaron 2, Brant 2); Smithsburg 8 (King 2, Fortson 3, Wynne, Hogue 2). Fouled out — Hardy.

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