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Williamsport earns upset of Hancock

February 24, 2005|by BILL STERNER/Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - Don't tell Hancock boys basketball coach Jeff Spielman or Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray that Wednesday's clash between the two county rivals didn't really mean anything.

With the Class 1A West playoff brackets already settled, the game was supposed to be a confidence builder for Hancock - a tuneup and a chance to see how the Panthers would react without forward Dylan Shives, sidelined with an ankle injury.

But it ended up being an ambush as the surging Wildcats used a 20-point performance from Phil Jordan and a smothering defense to stun one of the region's top teams, 57-41.

For Williamsport (12-10), it was a testament to how far Mowbray's Wildcats have come since November.

"We are playing better each game," Mowbray said. "There were times tonight where we let down on offense, but defensively we were there all night."

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It was the normally high-octane Panthers (18-3) whose offense sputtered and coughed through shooting droughts of almost three minutes in the first quarter and five minutes in the second quarter.

"We were not focused and ready to play," Spielman said. "Most of our offensive trips were a one-and-done variety. ... If we go one and done Friday (against Beall in the first round of the West Sectional playoffs), we will be staying home."

The Panthers shot a frigid 14 percent from the floor, as the Wildcats played stingy defense. Williamsport contested every shot and neutralized Hancock's 6-foot-7 Jeff Willison inside on the way to building a 44-30 lead after three quarters.

Willison finished the game with just six points, though he added 11 rebounds.

"Corey (Broadwater), Adam (Richardson) and Ryan (Lee) did a great job working on Jeff inside," Mowbray said. "We knew their guards were good, but you have to handle the big kid first."

Williamsport's perimeter defense, anchored by David Warrenfeltz, also pressured the normally efficient Hancock guards into making mistakes and taking poor shots.

"We were inept on offense, but that doesn't take anything away from Williamsport's effort," Spielman said. "We just didn't get much rebounding help for Jeff in there and when we did, our shots wouldn't drop."

Neither coach is putting too much into their team's latest performance.

"We want to make some noise in the playoffs," Mowbray said. "Hopefully our kids see where they are a little more clearly now."

"We are certainly putting this one behind us," Spielman said. "Things like this can happen and we are not going to focus on it. We are focusing on Beall."

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