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Boonsboro fine-tunes a victory

December 21, 2005|By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - Boonsboro's basketball game looked like Dad's camcorder shots on Christmas morning on Tuesday.

Everything was a little fuzzy, off center and off the mark.

Then, with a slight fine tuning, everything became sharp. The Warriors pulled back their defense, turned up the intensity and took total control. In fact, Boonsboro held Hancock to three points in the second half to wrap up a 60-29 victory that would be a welcome addition under any tree, especially the one of coach Sam Connelly.

"We started to play smarter," Connelly said. "Focus is a big part of basketball. We focused as a team ... It's called keeping your cool."

The focus became crystal clear after a rough start.

Boonsboro opened the game by committing 10 fouls in the first five minutes, 15 seconds of the game - putting Hancock in the double bonus with 1:45 to go in the first quarter - while trying to press the Panthers.

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When the pressure didn't work - and the bench began to wear thin before anyone began to sweat - it forced Boonsboro to take alternate measures to stay in the game.

"We had to pull back on the defense and it forced us to play more like a team," Connelly said. "We backed off and at the first-quarter break, I said we had to get back to basics defensively. We tried to do too much individually. Then on offense, we became just patient enough to get what we wanted."

Basketball had been put on hold at Boonsboro for the last week. After the death of three schoolmates, the Warriors took five days from practice to mourn the loss. They took the court for a Monday workout and spent the beginning of Tuesday's game trying to get their feet and game shape back.

Despite the foul problems, Boonsboro held a 20-15 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 37-26 lead at the half.

Hancock was aggressive against Boonsboro's press to get the fouls, but failed to convert on the chances. The Panthers (0-4) hit 12 of 17 foul shots in the first half, but only managed seven baskets while the Warriors were on their heels.

"When you do good things, good things happen," said Hancock coach Ron Hose. "In the first half, we were more aggressive with the ball and attacked. In the second half, our inexperience showed up. Sam did a good job turning up the defensive intensity."

Neither team scored for the first 4:16 of the second half until Mike DeBarge stole the ball and drove for a layup to give Boonsboro the 39-26 edged. Cam Shifler followed 22 seconds later with another layup.

Dustin Hull popped in a five-footer at the 2:36 mark for Hancock's only basket of the second half before Boonsboro scored the final five points of the period - all on foul shots - to take a 46-28 lead.

Boonsboro completed the 15-0 through the first 4:12 of the first quarter to move the lead to 56-28 before Stephen Weatherholt hit a foul shot for Hancock with 3:38 remaining. The Warriors outscored the Panthers 4-0 to close the game.

"We started to get tired and our inexperience showed. We weren't making good decisions," Hose said. "We have to learn to play a full four quarters ... and that comes with maturity."

Dylan Shives led Hancock with eight points and 14 rebounds. DeBarge led Boonsboro's balanced attack with 14 points as 11 players scored.

"I'm real proud of our defense in the second half," Connelly said. "We played great defense in allowing only three points in the second half. It was a matter of focus to play as a team."

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