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Panthers hold off Indians at the line

December 17, 2004|by BILL STERNER/Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - Hancock's Brad Spielman has a heck of an overhand right.

Midway through the fourth quarter Thursday, the Berkeley Springs boys basketball team rallied from an eight-point deficit to threaten Hancock's lead at 38-35. Then in stepped Spielman and down went the Indians.

Spielman, a senior forward, hit 6 of 7 shots from the foul line down the stretch and Dustin Jenkins finished 8 of 9 from the line to help Hancock hold off Berkeley Springs, 58-44.

"This was a battle just like we thought it would be," Spielman said. "Both teams played hard and wanted to win badly."

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For the Panthers, it is what Coach Jeff Spielman has come to expect from the foul line by his team.

"We practice free throws enough - of course everyone does," Jeff Spielman said. "Tonight when we needed it, they pulled us out."

The Panthers had 32 chance at the line, compared to 14 for the Indians, which gave Berkeley Springs coach Chad Brineangar reason to be concerned.

"When you are on the road and playing a good team like Hancock, you can't give them twice the opportunities you have," Brinanger said. "But I have to give it to (Hancock), they made the plays when they had to."

Alex Younker gave Hancock a narrow lead at halftime by stripping the ball at halfcourt and laying it in while being fouled at the buzzer for a three-point play and 23-22 lead.

Hancock began taking control early as Jeff Willison, the Panthers' 6-foot-7 center, began controlling the boards.

"We talked about the fact that a key to beating Hancock would be to control the boards and to stop the guard penetration," Brinanger said. "We didn't do too well on either count."

The Indians tried to use a spread offense in an effort to pull Hancock out of its stingy 1-3-1 defensive alignment, but the Panthers remained patient and it paid off.

"Defensively we played well tonight," said Jeff Spielman, whose team owned nearly a 2-to-1 rebounding advantage. "Jeff (Willison) and Dylan (Shives) accounted for nearly 30 rebounds."

"They definitely controlled it in there and we didn't stop the dribble penetration," Brinanger said. "If we want to win, that is where we have to improve."

Tony Belt led Bekeley Springs with 15 points while Nathan Sirbaugh and Foster Sirbaugh added two 3-pointers each.

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