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Southern Fulton's lead never threatened in championship

December 29, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Southern Fulton boys basketball coach Kent Hendershot hopes the troubles his team had at finishing games are finally in the past after winning the 21st annual Rotary Tri-State Shootout.

Southern Fulton topped Berkeley Springs 54-32 in the championship game, which followed Clear Spring's 63-59 win over Hancock in the consolation game Thursday night.

Southern Fulton, which had blown late leads to lose four of its previous five games before the tournament, won back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season 2-0.

"We look a lot better than we did last week," said Hendershot, whose team dropped a pair of tight games in the closing minutes a week ago. "We just tried to play our game. We did a nice job of controlling the tempo and being patient on offense."

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Southern Fulton (5-4) didn't have to worry about blowing a lead down the stretch because the game never got closer than 14 points in the second half. Southern went on a 22-0 run spanning the first and second quarters to take a 25-7 lead. Berkeley Springs (3-3) was held without a basket for nearly 12 minutes, during which it also went 0-for-3 from the foul line. Berkeley Springs finally stopped the drought when Sammy Trump scored with less than 10 seconds left before halftime.

"We really went after them and only gave them one shot each time," Hendershot said. "Everyone did their jobs and played their roles."

"We didn't shoot well," said Berkeley Springs coach Chad Brinegar. "We got some good looks, but we just couldn't get them to fall. Southern Fulton is very disciplined on defense and plays good man-to-man defense."

Southern Fulton widened the lead to as many as 24 points in the second half. Brad Divel scored a game-high 17 points.

"Coach (Hendershot) gives me a lot of confidence," Divel said. "He lets me go out and play, but tells me to let the game come to me. I started the season pretty rough, but it's starting to come around."

The Southern Fulton bench, which was announced as the tournament MVP, totaled 20 points - Jacob McCarthy led the way with 11.

"Our bench played real well both nights," Hendershot said. "It deserves as much credit as any one person on the team."

Foster Sirbaugh had 12 points, while Nathan Sirbaugh added eight for Berkeley Springs.

In the consolation game, Clear Spring had four players score in double figures and outscored Hancock 15-6 in the second quarter to open a 26-20 halftime lead.

Brett Turner led the Blazers with 14 points, Kyle Crist and Steve Munson each had 12 and Keith Gilchrist added 10.

Clear Spring (3-3) opened up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter before Hancock cut the lead to 58-56 in the final minutes. But the Blazers were able to hold off the Panthers in the end.

Steven Beaver led Hancock (2-6) with 29 points and nine rebounds.

All-tournament team: Southern Fulton - Brad Divel, Zach Mellott; Berkeley Springs - Nathan Sirbaugh, Foster Sirbaugh; Clear Spring - Kyle Crist; Hancock - Steven Beaver.

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