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Panthers' 2nd-half run bedevils Saints

January 14, 2007|by JACK HilL III / Staff Correspondent

ST. JAMES - Hancock's boys basketball team used a 12-0 run to start the third quarter to build a 16-point lead and defeated St. James 65-58 on Saturday.

Hancock led 30-26 at halftime before extending the lead to 16 two minutes into the second half.

"It was a good win," Hancock coach Ron Hose said. "We played well together. We played several close ballgames over the holidays and part of the problem was that we didn't know how to win. But we learned what not to do. It has been a learning process."

Junior Steven Beaver led a well-balanced attack with 18 points for Hancock (4-7). Josh Unger tallied 15 points, Dustin Hull added 12 and Spencer Golden had 10 for the Panthers.

Sophomore forward Mike Russ scored 21 of his game-high 32 points in the second half for St. James (5-5). Russ added eight rebounds and four steals. Reserve center T.K. Washington pulled down 12 rebounds.

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"I give all of the credit to Hancock," St. James coach Mike Brooks said. "The coach had them well-prepared. They came out and executed their game plan. They made the shots that they needed to hit. We just couldn't get the job done today. We kind of played in a fog during the first three quarters. We finally turned it on in the fourth quarter, but we had already dug ourselves too deep of a hole."

Hancock made 23 of 30 free throws, while the Saints sank 8 of 16. Beaver went 12-for-16 from the line.

"Free throws were the key to our victory today," Hose said. "When you get points from the foul line like that, it makes a big difference. I am proud of the way we are starting to play together."

Hancock held a 55-41 advantage with 7:33 left in the game before St. James made its final push, cutting the lead to 61-56 with 2:32 left. But the Saints managed just two more points in the closing minutes, and Beaver made 1 of 2 foul shots on four different occasions to salt the game away.

"I give a lot of credit to Mike Russ," Brooks said. "When our team was a little bit disarrayed, he put the team on his back and carried us right through the rest of the game."

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