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Boys Basketball: Leopards separate themselves vs. Blazers

February 03, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING — Working to steer itself clear of the field when it comes to the Maryland Class 1A West region seedings, Smithsburg left no doubt on the court Friday night it wants the homecourt advantage.

Except for a brief moment in the first quarter, the Leopards had more than enough hardware to down Clear Spring 68-42 in an MVAL Antietam Conference matchup.

“We figure we’re three games ahead in the seeding so that’s what we are working for,” said Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber.

Jordan Fortson scored 16 points and Trent Springs added 13 as the Leopards (14-4, 10-2) surpassed their victory total from last season and now have posted the most wins in a season since going 16-8 in 2005-06.

Smithsburg was coming off a loss to South Hagerstown on Tuesday and responded to the setback.

“We didn’t talk much about (the loss),” said Gerber. “They knew they had to forget about it.”

It didn’t make much difference that Clear Spring (10-8, 6-6) outrebounded Smithsburg 37-27. The Leopards hit 47 percent of their shots, including 7 of 18 from 3-point range, while Clear Spring was sloppy with the basketball early and shot only 29 percent on 15 of 52.

“It looked like we had players with 10 wins on the season and they accepted that and came out and played with mediocrity,” said Clear Spring coach Ryan Grabill. “We had a horrible practice on Thursday and it looked like it the way we played tonight.”

With its defense setting the standard for the offense as it often does, Smithsburg raced to an early 12-2 lead four minutes into the game, eight of those points off Clear Spring turnovers.

The Blazers managed to cut the gap back to 14-9 at the end of the quarter but Smithsburg took control on a basket by Ben Gibson and successive 3-pointers by Fortson and Gibson for a 22-9 advantage.

“Again, our defense had the pressure on them,” said Gerber. “Tonight (Tyson Pierre) had a lot of energy on defense and set the tone. That’s how it’s been for us. It’s someone different on defense all the time. I thought we forced them into a lot of bad shots.”

Pierre and Devaughn Wynne scored nine points each for the Leopards, who had 11 players in the scoring column.

“Turnovers and we just haven’t stepped up to beating a team with a winning record,” said Grabill.

Ryan Aaron led Clear Spring with 12 points but eight came with the game well out of hand.

JV: Smithsburg 49-33 (S: Josh Miller 12; CS: Collin Schultz 14).

Smithsburg 68, Clear Spring 42
SMITHSBURG (14-4, 10-2)
Spickler 5, Springs 13, Hardy 3, Pierre 9, Fortson 16, Hogue 2, Gibson 5, Wynne 9,Tracey 2, King 2, Bolton 2. totals 20 21-25 68.
CLEAR SPRING (10-8, 6-6)
S. Elwood 4, Hill 7, Weaver 2, Aaron 12, Cornwell 4, Walling 7, Brant 2, Miller 2, Sensenbaugh 2. Totals 15 9-18 42.
Smithsburg    14    19    15    20    —    68
Clear Spring    9    8    10    15    —    42
3-point goals—Smithsburg 7 (Pierre, Fortson 2, Wynne 3, Gibson); Clear Spring 3 (Aaron 2, Hill). Rebounds—Smithsburg 27 (Fortson 9); Clear Spring 37 (S. Elwood 7). Turnovers—Smithsburg 16, Clear Spring 20.

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