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Hancock decks halls with victory

December 24, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - You can't exactly put it in a Christmas stocking, but a victory was just what Hancock's boys basketball team wanted for an early present.

"We've been talking about this for a week, we needed to get a win," Panthers coach Jeff Spielman said following Hancock's 53-46 triumph over Boonsboro on Tuesday night.

Using patience and poise, the Panthers (1-5) held off a Warriors squad whose offense failed to click for much of the night.

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Jeff Willison had 19 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots as the key to Hancock's offense inside, while Brad Spielman settled down after a rough first five minutes to run the offense efficiently, ending with 14 points, seven assists and three steals.

Boonsboro (1-5) scored the first six points of the game, but after falling behind 9-8 late in the first quarter, the Warriors never regained the lead. They were done in by 37-percent shooting (19-for-51) and 46-percent foul shooting (6-for-13).

"When you don't shoot well, you've got to do the other things well," Warriors coach Sam Connelly said. "We didn't shoot our free throws well and we didn't play well defensively."

Willison was a stabilizing force for Hancock, scoring four points in the first quarter, six in the second, four in the third and five in the fourth as the Panthers held off Boonsboro down the stretch.

"(Jeff) made himself available well and he got some big rebounds for us," Jeff Spielman said. "He's starting to make the moves we've been working on for two years."

Trailing 39-27 early in the fourth, the Warriors made two runs at Hancock.

The first was a 7-0 spurt capped by Kellen Seligman's first of two 3-pointers, forcing Spielman to call timeout - after which the Panthers responded with a 6-0 run.

The second was a 7-2 Boonsboro run which cut the lead to 47-41 and led to another timeout, but Willison's 3-point play with 57.2 seconds left halted that run and ended the Warriors' chances.

"We stopped two runs by calling timeouts and changing some things," Spielman said.

Hancock's deliberate bob-and-weave offense - in which three guards take turns dribbling the ball parallel to the halfcourt line back and forth until an opening develops - kept the ball away from the Warriors for long stretches of time in the second half.

"We tried to get in a 1-2-2 (halfcourt) trap in the second half," Connelly said, "but we had not practiced it and the kids didn't understand the concept completely."

Kyle Davis worked underneath for 16 points for Boonsboro. Brad Wetzel - who had four straight 20-point games coming into Tuesday - finished with 12.

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