Leopards' dreams hurt by turnovers

March 09, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE |
  • Smithsburg's Devaughn Wynne, center, and Brad Spickler (2) walk off the Comcast Center court after a 75-72 loss to New Town on Friday in the Maryland Class 1A state semifinals.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Make no mistake about it: Smithsburg’s boys basketball team belonged in the Maryland state tournament.

However, an array of mistakes closed the curtain on the Leopards’ season in Friday night’s Class 1A semifinals.

The Leopards were guilty of a season-high 21 turnovers that led to a 75-72 loss to New Town at Comcast Center.

New Town will meet Dunbar today at 1 p.m. for the 1A state title. Dunbar beat Pocomoke 86-68 in the other semifinal.

“I’m disappointed in the turnovers,” said Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber. “That’s the most we’ve had in a game this season.”

The bulk of the problems came when Smithsburg (20-6) opened up decent leads against New Town (20-6).

In the first quarter, the Leopards gave up a 15-6 lead. Then in the second quarter, four straight Smithsburg turnovers helped the Titans rally from a 30-23 deficit to take a 34-32 lead at halftime.

New Town had the momentum after turning two more Leopards turnovers into a 44-37 lead. But Trent Springs and Jordan Fortson hit 3-pointers to get Smithsburg within 46-45 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.

The Leopards closed the period with a 7-0 run on two free throws by Tyson Pierre and five points by Fortson.

Fortson hit another 3 for a 60-55 lead early in the fourth, but Smithsburg lost Pierre to fouls and New Town made defensive adjustments.

“They are long and went into a halfcourt defense and that bothered us,” said Gerber.

The Titans regained the lead with defensive traps that hounded Smithsburg’s ball handlers.

Devron Goodwyn, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, had a pair of baskets and Josh Gerard added a conventional 3-point play that put New Town on top for good at 62-60.

The Leopards stayed within two possessions over the final two minutes, but two more turnovers hurt Smithsburg’s chances. New Town spent time marching to the free throw line, where the Titans scored nine of their last 11 points.

A 3-pointer by Smithsburg’s Devaughn Wynne with 1 second remaining made the final score a little closer, but it was too late to affect the outcome.

New Town had a 41-32 rebounding advantage — the major damage coming on the offensive glass, where the Titans owned the Leopards 19-6.

“Because of our size, we had those problems all year and they hurt us where we thought they could — on the boards,” said Gerber. “I give credit to New Town.”

Fortson hit two 3s and two free throws in Smithsburg’s opening 15-6 run. He finished 6-for-15 from behind the arc and scored 23 points. Springs authored a 20-point game.

The Leopards hit 45 percent from 2-point range, 42 percent from 3-point range (10-for-24) and 83 percent from the foul line (20-for-24).

However, Fortson and Springs were also credited with 14 of Smithsburg’s 21 turnovers.

“We gave them way too many open 3-point shots,” said New Town coach Mike Salapata. “It was a hard-fought game. The half-court trap in the fourth quarter and our foul shooting won the game for us.”

The Titans were only 18-for-29 from the line for the game, but hit 11 of 15 in the fourth quarter.

New Town showed scoring balance with four players in double figures. Danny Shand had 17 points, Goodwyn had 16 and Jalen Clarke and Jacob Corneliu added 12 each.

“We worked hard and it was a tough, physical game,” said Fortson.

New Town 75, Smithsburg 72
NEW TOWN (20-6)
Shand 5-7 7-8 17, Jones 1-3 0-1 2, Clarke 5-19 1-4 12, Cornelius 4-8 4-6 12,, Goodwyn 6-13 4-6 16, Brown 4-7 0-0 8, Wallace 1-3 0-0 2, Gerard 1-3 2-2 3, Wainewright 1-2 0-2 2. Totals 28-65 18-29 75.
Spickler 3-5 2-2 7, Springs 6-13 6-7 20, Hardy 2-3 1-2 5, Pierre 0-4 6-6 6, Fortson 6-17 5-6 23,m Wynne 1-2 0-0 3, Hogue 1-1 0-0 3, Gibson 1-1 0-1 2, Sprecher 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-47 20-24 72.
New Town    14    20    16    25    —    75
Smithsburg    18    14    22    18    —    72
3-point goals — New Town 1 (Shand 0-1, Clarke 1-7, Goodwyn 0-1, Gerard 0-1), Smithsburg 10-24 (Fortson 6-15, Springs 2-5, Hogue 1-1, Wynne 1-2, Pierre 0-1). Rebounds — New Town 41 (Goodwyn, Brown 8 each), Smithsburg 32 (Spickler 7). Turnovers — New Town 11, Smithsburg 21. Assists — New Town 7 (Shand 3), Smithsburg 13 (Pierre 7). Steals — New Town 13, Smithsburg 2.

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