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Hancock's Creek flows like a river

December 30, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - The recent return of Hancock's Kris Creek will make a positive impact on the Panthers as long as she's on the court.

But it's hard to imagine the senior guard will continue to provide the type of swing she did Friday night against Clear Spring at the Hancock Holiday "Shoot the Lights Out" Classic.

Creek, in her second game back from illness, scored a game-high 15 points, made four steals and dished out three assists to lead the Panthers to a 39-32 victory in the nightcap of the tournament.

Berkeley Springs topped Southern Fulton 60-57 in the first game. Hancock will play Berkeley Springs in the championship game tonight at 8 and Clear Spring will take on Southern Fulton in the consolation game at 6.

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Hancock's victory is a 42-point swing from two weeks ago when the Panthers were blown out by Clear Spring, 63-28. Creek did not play in that game.

"(Creek) brings a lot to us," said Hancock coach Rocky Wills. "She's going to put the ball in the basket and she's going to handle the ball 95 percent of the time. She's a big difference for us."

Creek made just three baskets, but scored nine points from the foul line. She penetrated often in the closing minutes of the game, drawing three fouls - she was 5-for-6 in the last two minutes as Hancock extended its lead.

"I just run as fast as I can. Most of the time I can get to the line," Creek said.

While Creek provided a significant spark on both sides of the ball, Hancock needed better performances from the entire team to turn a 35-point loss on Dec. 15 into a seven-point win. Megan Chiaruttini and Holley Funk each had seven points and Samantha Truax chipped in with six. Truax also grabbed nine rebounds, Funk had eight and Chiaruttini had five steals.

The Hancock defense held the Blazers to only three baskets in the first 13 minutes of the game as the Panthers built an 18-7 advantage - the biggest lead of the game.

"We definitely stepped up the defense," Wills said. "We changed it up a lot with a 1-3-1 trap and 2-3 zone. We would have liked to play a little more man, but we're not as consistent as we'd like to be."

Clear Spring managed to close out the half on a nine-point run to cut the deficit to 18-16. But Hancock scored the first five points in the third quarter and the Blazers never got closer than five points for the remainder of the game.

Carley Snyder led Clear Spring with 12 points and Sarah Dice added seven.

Both Washington County teams will be shorthanded in tonight's game because four players were ejected in the fourth quarter. Hancock's Brandy Jenkins and Truax and Clear Spring's Ashley Shaff and Andrea Baum were thrown out of the game with 3:16 remaining for fighting.

In the opening game of the tournament, Berkeley Springs used a 17-6 third quarter to take control and got a late surge to hold of Southern Fulton.

Trailing 32-30 at halftime, Berkeley Spring's Alex Tamez and Ashley Hovermale provided a quick spark. Tamez hit a pair of layups and assisted a 3-pointer by Hovermale as Berkeley got out to a 37-32 lead.

"We work on a lot of shooting drills in practice and that helps," said Hovermale, who finished with three 3s and 10 points. "(Tamez) works a lot with the wings and she's good at finding open players."

Tamez scored seven points in the third quarter, Hovermale added six and Kayla Hill came off the bench to score four of her five points. Tamez finished with 14 points.

"In the third quarter we did get more in the flow," said Berkeley Springs coach Dale McCumbee. "And I thought defensively we did a better job of stopping them."

Berkeley held Southern Fulton's Destane Whiteside to just two points in the third and four in the fourth quarter. Whiteside scorched Berkeley for 17 in the first half.

"She's a really good ball player," McCumbee said. "We didn't really change anything, we just wanted to make ourselves aware that we can't let her drive so much."

Southern Fulton trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, but cut the deficit to 56-55 on a basket by Kristen Petersen with less than two minutes left. Brooke Whiteside's 3 to tie the game at the buzzer was a few inches short of falling in.

"I was upset because I threw a ball away," Hovermale said. "I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh,' so I'm glad we won. I was definitely nervous."

Petersen scored nine points off the bench for Southern Fulton. Shelly Diehl had 12 rebounds and Destane Whiteside had six steals.

Amber Booher had a double-double with 16 points - eight in the first quarter - and 11 rebounds for Berkeley Springs. Hill had four steals.

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