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Blazers rally only to fall to Panthers in OT

February 18, 2006|By CHRIS CARTER

HANCOCK -

After squandering a 10-point lead with less than 1:40 remaining in regulation, Hancock coach Ron Hose admitted an uneasy feeling with overtime approaching.

"I felt a little nauseous," he said.

Luckily for Hose, the remedy was a familiar one.

Senior Dylan Shives shook off five missed free throws in the fourth quarter and came up big with seven of his 21 points in overtime to lift the Panthers past Clear Spring 63-61 Friday night, avenging their season-opening loss.

"We lost a couple of guys because of fouls, but we still had Shives and (Steve) Beaver out there," Hose said. "If we only have two guys then they're the ones we want out there."

Shives turned out to be the fast-acting cure in overtime, while Beaver was long-lasting, spanning the entire game. The 6-foot-3 sophomore scorched the Blazers for 19 first-half points - 14 in the opening period - to give Hancock a 33-21 halftime lead.

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"My team got me the ball and coach was telling me to shoot," said Beaver, who was absent in Hancock's 21-point loss to the Blazers on Dec. 5. "I just let it loose."

Beaver hit five 3s and finished with a team-high 30 points. The southpaw opened the fourth quarter with a 3, followed by a no-look pass to Shives for a basket to re-open the Hancock lead to 14 points.

Beaver's hot hand allowed the Panthers to stave off the Blazers for the first 30 minutes, 44 seconds. The Panthers led 53-43, but with 1:16 left, Clear Spring turned up its pressure and Hancock gave in. After a Brian Shifflet basket to close the gap to eight, the Blazers forced turnovers on three straight possessions.

Scott Keeney, who matched Beaver with 30 points, hit a 3, the Blazers hit three free throws and Shiflett stole an inbounds pass underneath the basket and laid it in to tie the game at 53-53 with 30 seconds left. Beaver and Shifflet exchanged a pair of free throws to knot it at 55-55 and Beaver's prayer at the buzzer was off target, which sent the game to overtime.

"You're up 10 with under two minutes left and you think you have it put away," Hose said. "It's never over."

Shives made sure it was over after the four-minute extra period. Playing with four fouls, he dared to go into the lane and came away unscathed, spoiling Clear Spring coach Don Harnish's plans.

"In overtime we're thinking maybe we can get a foul on Shives and get him out of the game," he said.

Shives made it 63-61 on a pair of free throws with 32 seconds left, leaving Clear Spring with a chance to tie or win with a 3. The Blazers attempted three times to get the ball to Keeney on the perimeter. On the third, Keeney got it and drove to the lane, but lost the ball and was whistled for a charge, turning the ball over the Panthers.

"We set up a play specific for (Keeney), but we weren't able to get off a good shot," Harnish said. "We just couldn't get it done in OT."

While three other Panthers fouled out, Shives stayed in to notch a double-double with 11 rebounds. Beaver pulled down nine boards.

Shifflet scored four of the biggest points of the game, but finished with just seven for the Blazers. He also grabbed 13 rebounds.

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