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Indians continue holiday tradition

December 31, 2004|by BILL STERNER/Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - Speed may not always kill, but it sure can hurt a little bit.

Just ask Berkeley Springs girls basketball coach Dale McCumbee.

Southern Fulton used the speed of its guards with some laser-like passing to build a 22-point halftime lead on its way to a 52-22 victory over Berkeley Springs in the championship game of the Hancock Holiday Classic. Hancock beat Clear Spring 61-29 in the consolation game.

Southern Fulton has won the team title 10 out of the last 11 years.

"I've been here for six of those wins," Southern Fulton coach Mark Mellott said. "Honestly, it feels just as good every year. You never take winning for granted."

"Southern Fulton is not just a great team," McCumbee said. "That is a great program that simply reloads every year."

The Indians outscored tournament opposition by 68 points over two evenings and essentially held safe leads by halftime in both games. On defense, Southern Fulton gave up a stingy 43 points, shattering its own record of 58 points.

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"We did a good job tonight accomplishing the goals we set in practice," Mellott said. "We needed to control (Heather) Shaw and (Emily) McCoy inside, and we had to use our speed to out-run their guards."

Done and done.

Southern Fulton's Candace Bard played an exceptionally strong game in the paint both offensively and defensively. Giving away several inches to Berkeley Springs' taller front court, Bard was able to muscle in 11 points and limited Berkeley Springs to just one shot inside on most of its trips down the floor. She also outrebounded Berkeley Springs in the paint by a 2-to-1 margin.

"Candace did a super job underneath," Mellott said. "I think she more than controlled their big girls inside."

On the perimeter, Southern Fulton's Sam Cain, who scored a game-high 15 points, got plenty of open looks while tournament MVP Brandy Swope controlled the tempo of the game from start to finish.

"Brandy can do that to a team," Mellott said. "She has definitely matured to the point where she runs this offense. She is the main reason this team plays like the team they are."

Swope finished with eight points on the night, but her frenetic end-to-end rushes and pinpoint passes inside kept Berkeley Springs on its heels most of the evening.

Southern Fulton jumped out to a 17-5 lead just four minutes into the game.

"We didn't play as well as we are able." McCumbee said. "At one point, my assistant coached looked down our bench and wondered if we left some kids in Berkeley Springs tonight."

Rachel Buser led Berkeley Springs with nine points.

Dana Beaver and Jennifer Willison each scored 15 points to lead Hancock over Clear Spring in the consolation game.

Beaver's points came from five 3-pointers while Willison hit five 2-pointers and went 5 of 10 from the line for the Indians (3-5).

Leigh Ann Bearden led Clear Spring (0-6) with nine points.

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