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Blazers do more right than Panthers

December 09, 2003|by JACK HILL III

CLEAR SPRING - It's not unusual for a team to struggle during its first game of the season.

So when Clear Spring and Hancock battled through their share of problems on Monday, it made those brief moments of brilliance stand out even more.

It was those instances that allowed the Blazers to pull out a 73-58 win over the Panthers in the latest renewal of a Washington County rivalry.

"I'm happy for the win, but I'm a little bit concerned with our 29 turnovers," Clear Spring coach Don Harnish said. "I'm hoping that it was just first-game jitters. We can't continue to turn the ball over that many times."

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The Blazers scored the first five points of the third quarter to build a 44-34 lead. But the Panthers came back with a rally to move within 48-47 with 3:04 left in the period. Clear Spring closed with the final five points of the quarter for a 53-47.

The Blazers were able to expand their lead throughout the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Alex Tyler, a 6-foot-6 junior center, scored 13 of his 23 points during the second half to lead Clear Spring. Tyler sank 11 of his 13 foul shots, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five shots to go with four steals and three assists.

"I thought that Alex Tyler was great," Harnish said. "We had a hard time getting him the ball. He got into early foul trouble and he ended up sitting out most of the second quarter. At halftime, I told them that we were throwing up the shots too early. We weren't looking to get the ball inside enough. We know that if we can get the ball inside to Alex Tyler enough, then he can score a lot."

Mike Snyder scored 16 points, Cody Beard added 13 points and Brad Turner had 11 points for Clear Spring. Brandon Yost collected eight rebounds and four assists, while Zeb Jacobs and Phil Saloom made four steals each for the Blazers.

Brad Spielman finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Dustin Jenkins added 11 points, six assists and five steals for Hancock. Jeff Willison got 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Jordan Sterner grabbed eight rebounds for the Panthers.

"Truthfully, I thought that we outplayed them in the first half," Hancock coach Jeff Spielman said. "But we just didn't take advantage of the opportunities that we had.

"By the same token, I thought that Clear Spring took advantage of the chances that they had. That was why that they were leading us by five points at halftime. I thought that their bench was a little bit deeper than ours."

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