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Hancock Boys Edge Clear Spring

February 21, 1997

By JACK HILL III

Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - The Hancock Panthers survived a tough overtime battle as they came out on top of the Clear Spring Blazers 70-67 on Thursday night in a Washington County high school boys' basketball game.

During the four-minute overtime period, Hancock (10-10) scored first when Eric Appel made both of his free throws to take the lead for good at 66-64 with 2:52 remaining. About 1 1/2 minutes later, J.C. Schnebly made one of his two foul shots to help Clear Spring (11-11) to reduce the deficit to one point.

Justin Martinez and Jason Schetrompf made one basket each during the final minute to increase the Panthers' advantage to five points. However, Shane Bussard kept the Blazers' hopes alive by getting a bucket to trim the lead down to 70-67 with 12 seconds to go.

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After that, Tony Harnish came up with a steal to give Clear Spring possession again. But Harnish and Bussard both missed three-point field goal attempts in the final seconds for the Blazers and that enabled the Panthers to get the victory.

With 3:25 left in the fourth quarter, Clear Spring held a 58-49 lead. But the Panthers outscored the Blazers 15-6 for the rest of the quarter to force an overtime period. During the final 3:25 in regulation, Gary Hensley canned a pair of three-pointers for Hancock.

Appel made a basket with 26 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Panthers a 64-62 lead. However, Bussard scored off of an offensive rebound for the Blazers to tie the score and send the game into overtime.

"Tonight, I thought that we played bad in the first three quarters, but then we played well in the fourth quarter when we had to," Hancock coach Jeff Spielman said. "I thought that we took the momentum in the fourth quarter and it carried over into the overtime period. We did not give up and let them get away from us."

"I think that as bad as we didn't move and play in the first three quarters, we kept the ball moving and alive in the fourth quarter and in the overtime period," Spielman added. "We know how to win; we just have to get ourselves in a position at the end of the game to win."

Appel had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Derek Hoffman added 15 points, 14 rebounds and four steals for the Panthers. Martinez had 14 points, eight rebounds and four steals, while Hensley added 12 points on four three-pointers and four assists for Hancock.

Schnebly had 19 points and 16 rebounds, while Bussard added 16 points and seven rebounds for Clear Spring. Harnish added 14 points, seven assists and four steals for the Blazers.

"Hancock was the better team tonight," Clear Spring coach Doug Allen said. "They worked hard to stay in the game and they fought back. We were fortunate to send the game into overtime. But then, we just couldn't take advantage of it once we got it there. We're coming together as a team. But we still have to work on a few things yet."

"Hancock just played a great game tonight," Allen added. "They deserve a victory. They hustled from the start to the finish."

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