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Panthers' rally falls short

December 11, 2002|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - All the things that have gone bump in the night for the Hancock Panthers girls basketball team in the last three season openers against cross river rival Berkeley Springs came to light again Tuesday.

The Indians, behind the solid play of Danielle Fox and Heather Shaw, held off a furious Hancock rally that lasted a full three quarters to come away with an emotional 46-43 win.

The monster had come out from under the bed for the Panthers again, this time in the form of mediocre rebounding. The Indians held a 44-29 edge and a less-than-stellar 9-for-21 effort from the free throw line.

For the Tribe, the win was a huge step toward what coach Dale McCumbee referred to as "significant team wins" and the first of seven straight games on the road to open the season.

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And although the game had a familiar script to McCumbee, for Hancock coach Kim Kerns, it only marked another in the series that plays out similar to the story line from the movie "Groundhog Day."

"How many times have we seen this scenario?" Kerns lamented. "We go down to them early, fight back to stay within a few, then lose it in the last few minutes."

Panthers sophomore guard Aimee Barton fired up a 3-pointer to tie on the final buzzer that spun into then out of the rim as the game ended.

"We tell our kids all the time that no matter what kind of team Hancock has, they better be prepared for a dog fight," McCumbee said. "I give (Hancock) all the credit they deserve. But I am proud of my kids. We didn't shut down - we played 11 kids and every one made their minutes count."

With Berkeley Springs leading 13-4 in the second quarter, Hancock rallied behind the sister act of Dana and Carrie Beaver.

The sisters helped the Panthers put together a 12-4 run that included a crisp passing offense that seemingly confused the Indians' zone defense.

Dana Beaver led Hancock with 11 points.

The Indians regained the lead on a jumper by Julie Scherpf with just under two minutes left in the half. The lead was never more than six points the remainder of the night.

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