2011-12 All-County Boys Basketball: Gerber drew big numbers from a small team

March 24, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE |

The Smithsburg boys basketball team reached heights in the 2011-12 season it hadn’t reached since the 1980s.

Not since 1988 had a Smithsburg team reached the Maryland state championships. Not since 1980 had a team won 20 or more games.

Guided by veteran coach Eric Gerber, the Leopards put the past in the past with a season that included a 20-6 record, second place in the MVAL Antietam Conference, 1A West Region title and a semifinal spot in the state tournament.

Gerber is The Herald-Mail’s Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

His 12th season as the Leopards’ coach was easily his best.

“It was my most satisfying year, certainly the most as far as wins and losses are concerned,” said Gerber.

One of the reasons for this year’s success was the players’ participation in summer basketball.

“These kids love playing basketball and it showed through them playing in the summer,” said Gerber. “And they adapted to the system we put in place this year very well.”

At the outset of the season, Gerber knew he had perimeter players that could play. The biggest question was whether the Leopards could bang with teams that, game in and game out, always held a height advantage.

“These kids became badges of honor,” said Gerber. “They competed well.

 It made for an easy message on the chalkboard. We had to constantly defend the interior, go out and play hard.”

Gerber is also quick to point out the success of his team also stems from the staff support he’s had with assistant coaches Mike Williams and Jeff Seward, who have been on the staff for 10 years and Terry Myers, who has been with Gerber for 12 years.

“They are certainly integral to any success Smithsburg has had,” said Gerber. “This is award is prmarily a function of players performing well, secondly a staff award and then an individual award.”

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