Berkeley Springs past Hancock boys

February 02, 2001

Berkeley Springs past Hancock boys

By BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - His own gym had turned into a sea of madness, but Berkeley Springs guard Mark Rockwell remained calm Thursday night.

The placid senior made two free throws with four seconds to play, giving the Indians a 68-66 victory over Hancock that certainly looked like a loss.

"I wasn't going to worry about all the ones I have missed," said Rockwell, a shaky 54 percent free-throw shooter. "I was only worried about those last two - the two that count."

Rockwell's free throws were the final curtain on a frantic fourth quarter that saw the underdog Panthers lead the entire way, only to loosen up and fall in the last minute. An entertaining matchup was sandwiched around 45 fouls in a game that sometimes mirrored a whistle-happy track meet.


"No more Hancock-Berkeley games this season," Tribe coach Tim Morrow said with a smile. "We are certainly glad we got out of this one with a 'W.'"

That Hancock had the opportunity to be in the game at all after falling behind by 13 points in the first half was amazing to a boisterous crowd that cheered every play. That Hancock also had three chances to retake the lead in the final minute - and missed them all - was a shock to coach Jeff Spielman.

"We managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Spielman lamented. "We played hard. We put ourselves in a prime position, but when it counted, no one wanted to get the job done."

Rocky Berch gave the Indians a 65-64 lead with a free throw, while Andy Omps put the Tribe up by 66-64 with 33 seconds left after a scramble for a loose ball ended in a foul. At that point, Hancock moved down the floor, took the ball to the perimeter and chose to try for the quick-strike win as Jake Pittman fired up a 22-footer.The ball came off the iron hard into Rockwell's hands and set up his free throws. Omps led the Tribe with 17 points while Berch had 15.

"I'm happy with how hard we struggled in the game," Spielman said. "I told them if we could manage this effort every game, this would be a hard team to beat."

The Panthers were certainly hard to beat Thursday night. Hancock played a near-flawless third quarter, abandoning its usual perimeter game for the efforts of 6-foot-8 center Brandon Fling.

He finished with a game-high 27 points, including a turnaround jumper in the lane with one minute left in the third quarter that capped his team's rally from that 13-point deficit and gave the Panthers a lead.

"Fling is tough player, " Rockwell said. "He is a great rebounder and he doesn't miss many down close. (Hancock) came ready to play tonight."

Berkeley Springs 68, Hancock 66


Keefer 13, Demory 7, J.Wills 5, C.Wills 5, Pittman 9, Fling 27. Totals 23 17-23 66.


Omps 17, Rockwell 16, Gigliotti 4, Bosley 4, Potter 5, Mason 7, Berch 15. Totals 22 19-31 68.



Three-point goals-Hancock 3 (Keefer 2, J. Wills), Berkeley Springs 5 (Omps 2, Mason 2, Rockwell). Fouled Out-Keefer, C. Wills. JV-Berkeley Springs, 66-52 (BS: Matt Rockwell, 28).

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