Blazers burn Panthers

December 06, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING - Clear Spring's boys basketball team already has something it never had last season.

A victory.

With a long and difficult 2003-04 campaign far away in the rear-view mirror, the Blazers started their 2004-05 journey by beating up county rival Hancock with defensive quickness and superior rebounding for a 56-35 win in the opener for both teams.

Adam Kriner sparked Clear Spring's defense with seven steals as the Blazers forced 28 Panthers turnovers, while Lorenzo Smith (14 points, nine rebounds) and Cory Baker (seven points, eight rebounds) helped the Blazers control the glass, racking up a 49-25 rebounding edge.

It all added up to 29 more shots for Clear Spring compared to Hancock - more than enough extra opportunities to override the Blazers' poor shooting (21-for-68, 31 percent).


"(Hancock is) real young, and I'm glad to get a win," Clear Spring coach Don Harnish said. "We didn't play the way I'd like us to play. We had intensity but we weren't real smart. We had good intensity on defense but we were kind of undisciplined on offense."

Scott Keeney led the Blazers with 18 points. He scored the game's first five points on two foul shots and a 3-pointer, and Smith added a pair of baskets late in the first quarter, while Clear Spring held Hancock to three points and forced eight turnovers in the quarter to take a 12-3 lead.

Behind five points by Josh Unger and four by Dustin Hull, Hancock fought back within a point at 13-12 and went into halftime down just five at 21-16.

But Clear Spring's full-court pressure overwhelmed the Panthers in the third quarter. Hancock committed 12 turnovers in the frame and the Blazers kicked their offense into high gear, using a 19-2 run to claim a 40-20 lead. The advantage reached 27 points after a 7-0 run early in the fourth.

"We got a couple steals off the press and were able to score, and they fed off of that," Harnish said.

"We can't play up and down the floor with anybody," said Hancock's Ron Hose, making his Panthers coaching debut. "We have to be methodical and take care of the basketball. ... I'm happy with the effort. This is a great group of kids. It's just going to be a learning process."

Unger and Dylan Shives each had 13 points to lead the Panthers.

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