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When there's a Willison, there's a way

January 23, 2004|by JACK HILL III

It's becoming evident that it's a good thing Hancock center Jennifer Willison is young and impressionable.

The sophomore center did her very best to make an impression on South Hagerstown on Thursday ... and it might leave a mark.

Willison notched game-highs with 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Panthers to a 67-41 victory over South Hagerstown in a Washington County girls basketball game.

Willison scored consistently throughout the game, getting 16 of her points through the first three quarters. She scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to take Hancock to a 61-23 lead - the largest of the game - allowing the Panthers to coast the rest of the way to the victory.

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"I'm surprised about my inside game and I did a lot better than I expected to," Willison said. "I think that we have made a major improvement since the beginning of the season. Our offense was lacking, but now it is picking up. Our shots are finally going in."

The Panthers (6-6) have been able to jumpstart the offense by putting in extra time on the defense.

"I think that we worked really well tonight," Willison said. "I think that we stuck to our normal hard defense and we kept playing. Even when we got up by a lot, we didn't let up."

The 38-point lead was Hancock's way to showcase its improvement.

"I think that the girls finally put it all together in this game," Hancock coach Rocky Wills said. "Our girls shot the ball well and played good defense. We didn't have that many turnovers. In the last few games, our defense has given us the chance to get some easy baskets. We haven't been converting them, but we were able to get some baskets tonight."

Aimee Barton added 11 points for Hancock, while Nina Chiaruttini and Brittney Jenkins gave the Panthers some strength on the backboards with nine rebounds each. Kris Creek had seven assists and five steals.

Hancock took control early with an opening 12-0 run in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the game.

South Hagerstown coach Stacey Zeger quickly turned to her bench and made a wholesale change with four reserves.The move gave the Rebels a small spark as they rallied to within 15-11 with one minute remaining in the first quarter.

Hancock regained control with a 21-4 run over the next 6 1/2 minutes to build a 36-15 advantage with 2:30 remaining before halftime.

Sade Williams scored 13 points, Janay Brown added 12 points and Alexa Mitchell grabbed eight rebounds for the Rebels (1-11).

"We just didn't come out ready to play," Zeger said. "Our bench did a tremendous job of giving us some energy and that brought us back into the game. I tried to go to my post girls again and it just didn't work. After that, we just couldn't get that energy back."

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