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Smithsburg routs No. 1 Allegany, 77-62, behind 13 3s

Feb. 20—CUMBERLAND — As the old aphorism goes: Live by the 3, die by the 3. Smithsburg flourished beyond the arc Monday to rout Allegany.

The Leopards sunk 13 triples and Tyler Ward hit six of them, and Ja'Von Tyler exploded for a game-high 30 points to neutralize a combined 43 points and 31 rebounds from Zach Michael and Dylan Shaffer in a 77-62 rout of No. 1 Allegany.

The Campers had a chance to clinch the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage in the region playoffs with a win, but Smithsburg had other ideas.

"It's groundhog day," Allegany head coach Tedd Eirich said. "We have people that don't play defense. We still don't focus on foul shots, we miss too many foul shots. Too many turnovers again. Lot of dropped balls in their hands.

"All the fundamental things that you expect a team at this point in the season to do, we're not doing.

"I don't know that we were doing anything well on defense. ... Give them a little credit, that's the best team we've seen this year. Probably the best team that's played in this area all year."

Allegany dropped its record to 18-4 with the decision. The Campers can still be the top seed in Class 1A West Region I, but they'll need No. 3 Fort Hill (16-4) to fall to No. 4 Southern (13-6) on Thursday night.

Fort Hill, with a 6-1 Western Maryland Athletic Conference record, can also clinch an outright WestMAC title with a victory in Oakland. Allegany sits at 6-2 in the league.

Smithsburg — armed with a stable of players that transferred from 2022-23 Baltimore Catholic League runner-up St. Maria Goretti, which is shuttering its doors after this year — upped its record to 18-3.

Allegany was within 48-44 with 2:19 to play in the third quarter before back-to-back triples from Ward and another from Tyler in the final minute upped the Leopards' cushion to 59-48 after three.

The Campers never got back to within single digits the rest of the way.

"Ja'Von Tyler played one whale of a game for us. He's kind of been our leader all year," Smithsburg head coach Eric Gerber said. "We got Tyler Ward going with some 3s, he's struggled a little bit at times this year.

"And we did a little better job in the second half on the defensive glass. They killed us in the first half on the glass. I was pleased to be up nine (38-29) at half giving up 13 offensive rebounds in the first half."

Tyler, a junior voted the Washington County Hagerstown Herald-Mail Preseason Boys Basketball Player of the Year, is one of those transfers.

He poured in 11 first-quarter points to give Smithsburg a 22-15 lead after one, and he tallied nine in the fourth to guide the Leopards over the finish line.

"That kid was pretty darn good," Eirich said. "He might've been one of the better players I've seen all year. He just seemed to do it without any effort. ... If a kid like that goes off, that's fine. But we need to do what we need to do on our end."

Allegany fell behind double-digits early, and, after an 8-0 Smithsburg run, Eirich called a timeout with 2:24 left in the first quarter with Alco trailing 20-9.

The moved paid off, and Michael began dominating the offensive glass to the tune of 16 first-half points, most of which came on second-chance opportunities, to keep Allegany within striking distance.

Containing Michael, who finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds, was an apparent emphasis by Smithsburg in the second half, allowing Shaffer to open up inside.

Shaffer scored 14 of his 19 points after halftime and added 15 boards.

However, Allegany struggled rebounding from the guard position. With the exception of its post duo, the Campers had just eight rebounds by the rest of the team.

"I don't think we had enough players going to the glass on both ends," Eirich said. "Dylan and Zach got a combined 31 rebounds, and everybody else had barely any. That tells you something right there. You just can't rely on two guys rebounding."

The Campers used an 11-2 run to get within 22-21 early in the second period and were tied at one point, but Smithsburg used the 3-point line to garner separation.

The Leopards buried eight triples before halftime.

"We take a lot of 3s," Gerber said. "When we're knocking down 3s, we're pretty good."

Allegany also left points at the foul line once again, making just 11 of 22 from that range.

Dae Dae Smith ended with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks, and Isaiah Fields added eight points, six assists and three rebounds.

Smithsburg made 29 field goals to Allegany's 24 and made 13 3s to the Campers' two.

The Leopards were in foul trouble for much of the second half. Their starting big man Josh Summers was tabbed with his fourth foul early in the third quarter, and two other players finished with at least four fouls. Reserve forward Trinity Wright fouled out.

Despite the rotating pieces down low on Smithsburg's end, Allegany had fewer offensive boards after halftime and fewer second-chance points because Smithsburg's guards attacked the defensive boards.

"You talk about guards that in certain sets should be going to the glass on the weak side and get rebounds, and we just stand there and watch," Eirich said.

"We can tell them all the things that they need to do, but if we're not going to do it, it makes you feel helpless over there."

Smithsburg won the junior varsity game 45-40. Carter Nesbitt paced the Leopards with 18 points, and Sabastian Stewart (14 points) and Alex Spriggs (13) led the Campers.

Allegany now turns to the Class 1A West Region I playoffs, which begin next Tuesday, Feb. 27.

If Fort Hill loses to Southern this Thursday, Allegany will be the top seed and receive a first-round bye. If the Sentinels win, the Campers will host Clear Spring, winless in the regular season, in the region quarterfinals.

"I just told them in the locker room, if we can't do the things we need to do, we're going to take a quick exit," Eirich said. "It doesn't matter who we play. We just made it a little bit harder on us. We're going to see the character of our kids come playoff time."

Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.