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Blazers remain winless

January 28, 1999|By MARK KELLER

CLEAR SPRING - Jeff Spielman has an idea what Clear Spring boys basketball coach Daryl Hunsberger is going through.

"It's tough when you're down and people are pounding on you. It's difficult to deal with," Spielman said.

Spielman's Hancock team didn't make things any easier on the Blazers Wednesday night, putting all five starters in double figures as the Panthers pasted Clear Spring, 87-45.

"It's hard for me to believe that any team is 40 points better than we are," Hunsberger said. "At this point of the season, the boys really have to evaluate how hard they want to play. We have to see that they want to come out and play hard."

The Blazers (0-14) went all out from the start, playing an aggressive pressure defense that kept them close. Hancock held a 14-9 lead after one period, and the Blazers dropped no further than seven points back until the final minute of the second.

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That's when Clear Spring's aggressiveness began to work against it. The Blazers had three starters with three fouls at halftime, and Hancock made them pay at the free-throw line. The Panthers (6-6) went 15 of 24 from the line in the first half and took a 35-23 lead into the intermission.

"We played them once already and knew that we had to get to the foul line," Spielman said. "We thought it might make a difference down the stretch if we go 1-for-2 or 0-for-2 and they come down and hit a 3-pointer."

But in the end, it was the inside game that was the difference. The Panthers pulled away with a 16-3 run midway through the third quarter to push their lead to 54-29.

"We lost our focus tonight. That's probably a sign of immaturity," Hunsberger said. "There's nights like that with a young team."

Somewhat overshadowed by the margin of victory was the performance of Hancock's Derek Hoffman. Hoffman recorded his second triple-double of the season with 12 points, 14 rebounds and 12 blocked shots.

John Allen led Hancock with 17 points. Justin Kint had 14 points, while Jacob Rhodes and Mike Hixon each had 13.

Patrick Tyler had 11 points and Matt Michael added nine for the Blazers.

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