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Smith’s presence is felt for Schon

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski Schon Chiropractic's Jacob Muthler (center) cuts between Elite Property Maintenance's Darren Galbraith (left) and Jeremy Johnson in the Division 3 final.

When Elite Property Maintenance defeated Schon Chiropractic twice during the regular-season of the 2019 CBRC Lakemont Park Summer Basketball League, Ben Smith did not play for the Spring Cove team.

The two teams met for the Division 3 championship Monday evening and Smith DID play for Schon Chiropractic.

Did he ever.

Smith poured in 25 points as Schon, the No. 2 seed, rolled over No. 1 seed Elite Property, 51-32.

Schon Chiropractic took an early lead as Smith scored early and often. Schon, made up of several former Central High School players, built a 26-19 lead at the half and Smith contributed 16 of the 26 points.

Smith graduated from Central in 2016 but said he didn’t play basketball after his sophomore year when he switched to volleyball. Now he’s a special education major at Penn State but does not play collegiate sports.

“Joey, my younger brother, wasn’t here tonight and I took advantage,” Ben Smith said. “I guess being 6-feet-4 also helps. They had some big guys and were hard to maneuver around.

“I grew up being a point guard so I have some ball skills,” Smith offered. “It was a fun game … tiring, I’m not in condition for it … but it was really fun.”

Smith continued his torrid play … scoring, rebounding, ball handling … in the second half and Schon led by double figures 10 most of the second 20-minute half.

Player-coach Jacob Muthler contributed eight key points (a trey, two and three free throws) for the champs in the second half.

“Ben put together two good halves, but I couldn’t find it the first half,” Muthler said. “They were turning-point plays (the trey and deuce) for me. When the banked-3 went in, I got a little excited and then was able to make some free throws down the stretch.

“We had two tough losses early in the year,” Muthler noted. “They’re strong, much more physical than us, but we got a couple of our big guys back and Ben was able to push us over the top tonight.”

Smith scored inside and outside, nailing three 3-pointers and six 2’s, plus four free throws en route to his 25-point effort.

Elite Property player-coach Darren Galbraith was complimentary of the Schon team and Smith in particular.

“Both games were difficult to play,” Galbraith said of Elite Property’s 3- and 4-point regular-season wins. “They’re younger than us, they’re quicker than us and they’re in a lot better shape than we are.

“We beat ’em twice, but they beat us when it counted.”

Oh, and how about that Smith guy?

“He made a difference tonight,” Galbraith admitted. “He’s a tough player. He rebounds well, takes the ball to the hoop. He’s an excellent player.”

SCHON CHIROPRACTIC (51): P. Schon 2 2-4 6, N. Muthler 0 0-0 0, Runk 2 0-0 4, J. Muthler 2 3-4 8, N. Schon 0 0-0 0, Gahagen 1 0-0 2, Smith 9 4-8 25, McGraw 1 0-0 2, Barnes 0 0-0 0, Buchart 2 0-0 4. Totals — 19 9-16 51.

ELITE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE (32): J. Johnson 4 4-6 14, D. Johnson 0 2-2 2, Thrower 1 0-0 2, Kantoski 2 3-4 7, Galbraith 2 1-1 5, Koch 0 0-0 0, Figard 1 0-0 2. Totals — 10 10-13 32.

SCORE BY HALVES

Schon Chiropractic 26 25 — 51

Elite Property 19 13 — 32

3-point goals: Schon 4 (Smith 3, J. Muthler); Elite 2 (J. Johnson 2).

Officials: Mike Andrews, Tim Hite, Pat Young.

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