CLEAR SPRING —The Smithsburg girls basketball team entered the fourth quarter of Thursday’s game against Clear Spring with a 33-19 lead.
All the Leopards needed was to score a few baskets and coast to a win.
Easier said than done.
Smithsburg managed just one point in the final quarter, but in the end, the Leopards didn’t even need that as they hung on for a 34-32 victory over the Blazers in an MVAL Antietam game.
“We just didn’t execute,” Smithsburg coach Jimmy Powell said. “We didn’t do a good job with free throws. We shoot them all the time in practice, but the concentration hasn’t been there.”
Smithsburg (5-7, 4-5) shot just 42 percent (10-for-24) from the charity stripe and only converted one of its five attempts in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the Blazers (5-11, 1-9) found a rhythm and put up 13 points in the fourth after scoring just 11 in the first half.
“Our problem all year is our games are a tale of two halves,” Clear Spring coach Bill McIntire said. “But we never quit and kept fighting.”
Clear Spring might have been able to tie or pull in front of Smithsburg had it been afforded another possession or two, but the rebounding efforts of Beverley Kum (15 rebounds) and Elyse Koterwas (six rebounds) limited the Blazers’ opportunities.
“Rebounding really killed us this game,” said McIntire. “We weren’t able to control the boards.”
Smithsburg had the upper hand for much of the game, but a lack of execution late in the contest nearly cost the Leopards.
Smithsburg led Clear Spring 8-4 after the first quarter, and 21-11 at the break before building its 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Koterwas, Kum and Kinsey Shifflett each scored eight points to lead the Leopards.
Isabel Forsman paced Clear Spring with nine points and Kristen Mellott added eight.
Smithsburg 34, Clear Spring 32
SMITHSBURG (5-7, 4-5)
Koterwas 8, Kum 8, Shifflett 8, Duckworth 5, Bachtell 2, Hargreaves 2, Vega 1. Totals 12 10-24 34.
CLEAR SPRING (5-11, 1-9)
Forsman 9, Mellott 8, Lipinski 7, Elwood 4, Bowers 2, Haislip 2. Totals 15 0-4 32.
Smithsburg 8 13 12 1 — 34
Clear Spring 4 7 8 13 — 32
3-point goals — Clear Spring 2 (Forsman, Lipinski).