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Hancock boys avenge earlier loss BCA

January 24, 2003|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

A note to opponents of the Hancock boys basketball team: Keep the ball away from Jeremy Newton in the fourth quarter of a close game.

Newton, the Panthers' prolific point guard made nine of 11 free throws in the last 1:23 of Thursday night's game with Broadfording to preserve a 67-61 win over the Lions.

And, he said, he really didn't think about it.

"When I had my chance, I did the best I could," Newton said. "When you are the point guard on a team, that is your job."

The Panthers avenged an earlier loss to Broadfording (17-5) and evened their record at 9-9 in a style that coach Jeff Spielman said has been long overdue.

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"Man, I can't tell you how important it was for us to play well here tonight," Spielman said. "We have been battling injuries and sickness lately, and to come out here and play this well against a team of this caliber says a lot about our group."

Hancock rushed the ball down the floor from the beginning, putting it in the hands of senior shooting guard John Poffenberger. Poffenberger, who had a team-high 18 points, led Hancock to an early 13-9 lead and made three 3-pointers in the first half.

"I was open a lot early," Poffenberger said. "But (Broadfording) shut the door pretty quick. It was hard work after that."

The Lions countered Hancock's early success with the play of Sean Moore. Moore, who ended with a game-high 28 points, gave the Panthers defenders fits on both ends of the floor.,

"We worked on the idea of taking Moore and (Calvin) Berry out of the game," Spielman said. "Realistically, I knew we couldn't handle them both."

Berry scored 18 points.

Hancock got another solid game out of 6-foot-5 sophomore center Jeff Willison, who held his own against the bigger Lions under the boards. Willison, who had nine points and 16 rebounds, was instrumental in keeping Hancock in the game during Broadfording's furious third quarter.

Throughout that period and into the fourth, the lead changed hands no less than a dozen times before the Panthers moved in front 54-52 on a Brad Spielman 3-pointer with just under three minutes left.

Hancock led 56-55 when Newton began his heroics.

"We expect that type of game out of Jeremy (Newton) every night," Spielman said. "I know that doesn't sound fair, but he is one of the best point guards in the area. People expect him to play that way."

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