Slow start dooms Hancock in quarterfinals

March 04, 1997


Staff Writer

HANCOCK - Every basketball team goes into a contest with a game plan of some sort. It's the ability to execute that game plan from start to finish that makes a team successful.

It took the Hancock boys' basketball team a little too long to begin executing its plan Tuesday night. As a result, the Panthers played catch-up with Northern Garrett the entire game and came up short, losing to the Huskies, 71-63, in the Class 1A West quarterfinals.

Northern (9-13) used a 12-0 run in the first quarter to build a 20-6 lead. Hancock never quite recovered.

The Huskies kept Hancock at arm's length, not allowing the Panthers closer than seven points the rest of the way.

"We knew we couldn't play a bad first period like we did the last time we played them," Hancock coach Jeff Spielman said. "If we got down double digits, which we did, we couldn't play the way we wanted to."


The Panthers (10-13) put together an 11-3 run to start the second quarter, cutting Northern's lead to 23-17. Derek Hoffman and Justin Martinez each scored four points during the streak, and it looked like Hancock was beginning to turn the tide.

But the Huskies, who controlled the boards at both ends of the floor, closed the half with eight unanswered points to push the margin back to 14 points. Northern outrebounded the Panthers 18-11 in the first half, and finished with a 35-26 rebounding advantage.

"They did beat us on the boards, their two guys in the middle," Spielman said, referring to Northern's tandem of Nathan Long and Justin Long. "But Derek (Hoffman) did a pretty good job and Wes Mosier, when he was in, played well. We had trouble finding the right combinations tonight."

Northern threatened to run away with the game in the third, rolling out to a 20-point lead with three minutes left. Hancock trimmed it to 14 at the start of the fourth quarter and continued to chip away. A 3-pointer by Danny Shirley, followed by layups from Eric Appel and Martinez made it a nine-point game. But seven straight points by the Huskies put them ahead by 16 with under two minutes to play.

"We were lucky to have that first quarter cushion," Northern coach Mike Friend said. "They're a good team and played with a lot of poise. It's good for us to get out of here with a win and move on."

Zach Leverenz led the Huskies with 25 points. Scott Sisler added 18 points and Dustin Long had 16.

Appel had 19 points for Hancock. Casey Kerns scored 13 points, all in the fourth quarter. Martinez had 10 points.

The Herald-Mail Articles