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Indians defuse Wills' bomb squad

December 27, 2000|By BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

Indians defuse Wills' bomb squad



BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Hancock guard Chris Wills just didn't look as if he were cast very well for the part.

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Just moments before - in only his third varsity start - Wills had smoked Berkeley Springs for 35 points - including nine 3-pointers.

But the normally loquacious junior sat silently in front of his locker, a towel draped over his head and his hands folded between his knees ... and with good reason.

The Indians used textbook defense and a patient offense that took advantage of a bushel full of Hancock miscues to hold off the Panthers 85-69 last night in the nightcap of the Great Tri-State Rotary Shootout.

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"I would give all of them (the points) back if we could have won that game," Wills said. "It isn't satisfying at all to play well and not win.

"Every game in this tournament is a rival game," Wills continued. "We won't have a problem getting up to play tomorrow. I want to play again ... now."

Andy Omps led the Indians' balanced offense with 19 points, while Jamie Mason had 17 and Mark Rockwell had 16.

However, it was Wills' long range bombs that kept the game entertaining as Berkeley Springs (2-1) threatened to blow Hancock (2-1) out of the gym a half-dozen times.

The inevitable finally happened when Hancock turned the ball over four straight times highlighting a 17-2 Indian run with just under four minutes to go.

"We can play good defense," Berkeley Springs coach Tim Morrow said. "We needed a little attitude adjustment at halftime. I don't think our team gave (Hancock) the respect they deserved, but we soon saw we could not take them for granted."

Hancock's 6-6 junior center Brandon Fling dominated the paint, swatting seven shots away and grabbing several key rebounds. But he got into foul trouble early on, and the numerous whistles limited his effectiveness on offense. Fling pulled down double-digit rebounds but was held to just six points.

"I know (Fling) wanted to play better tonight," Hancock coach Jeff Spielman said. "But we all needed to play with some intensity. We didn't move the ball consistently against their press and we didn't attack them with any poise."

And that loss of team composure had Spielman at a loss himself.

"We played way out of character tonight," Spielman said of his Panthers who watched an early 10-point lead evaporate in the last two minutes of the first quarter. "I credit their defense, but our play was just so flat tonight."

"Once we decided we were mentally prepared for this game, we came out and played like we knew we could," Morrow said. "That is the hardest thing to coach - mental preparation."

Jake Pittman added 12 points for the Panthers.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> In the first game, Southern Fulton's Marshall Mills led a balanced offense with 11 points as the Indians downed the Clear Spring Blazers, 61-41.

Southern Fulton (5-2) found its way into the championship game as nine players found their way into the scorebook.

Tim Keebaugh had nine points, while Brandon Steach, Dustin Wills and Will Whiteside all had eight for the Indians.

Justin Michael led Clear Spring (0-5) with nine points.

Southern Fulton 61, Clear Spring 41

SOUTHERN FULTON (61)

Hendershot 5, Mills 11, Bernhard 7, Clingerman 1, Meyer 4, Steach 8, Wills 8, Keebaugh 9, Whiteside 8. Totals 25 8-12 61.

CLEAR SPRING (41)

Everitts 2, Hoffman 2, Michael 9, Keyton 6, Schnebly 8, Mills 1, Grove 2, Worthinton 5, Beard 6. Totals 18 5-10 41.

Southern Fulton1714822-61

Clear Spring96818-41

Three-point goals - Southern Fulton 3 (Hendershot, Mills, Bernhard).

Berkeley Springs 85, Hancock 69

BERKELEY SPRINGS (85)

Bosley 5, Burch 12, Mason 17, Omps 19, Paine 8, Potter 4, Rockwell 16, Ruckman 4. Totals 38 8-15 85.

HANCOCK (69)

Keefer 7, J. Wills 7, Pittman 14, Demory 2, C. Wills 35, Fling 6. Totals 25 7-10 71.

Hancock17131823-71

Berkeley Springs16211929-85

Three-point goals - Berkeley Springs 1 (Omps), Hancock 12 (Keefer, J. Wills, Pittman, C. Wills 9).

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