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Birthday boys helps Hancock blow out Grace

January 15, 2008|By JACK HILL III

HANCOCK - The Hancock Panthers swept the visiting Grace Academy Knights in a Washington County prep basketball doubleheader Monday night.

The Panthers overpowered Grace 84-39 in the boys game after escaping with a 45-41 win in the girls game.

In the girls game, Hancock (4-8) won with a superb defensive effort as it held Grace (5-9) to less than 10 points in three of the four quarters. The Knights scored 15 points in the third quarter.

"This win gives us some needed confidence," Hancock coach Rocky Wills said. "This last week of practice has probably been our best week of practice all season. We need to continue to improve every day. We were just trying to mix up our strategies a little bit on defense. I think we picked it up a little, defensively, in the second half. We had a couple of kids step up and make some shots at the end."

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Senior guard Brandy Jenkins had 19 points, six rebounds, five steals and two assists for the Panthers. Hayley Ruppenthal had nine points and four assists, Chelsea Stigile hauled in 18 rebounds and Shawnda Wills grabbed 12 rebounds for the Panthers.

Senior center Kelsie Shaffer came through with game-high totals of 21 rebounds and 20 points for the Knights. Megan Everett added 10 rebounds and 11 points, while Tori Aikens had eight rebounds for Grace.

"I think we gave them all that they can handle," Grace coach Curtis Litten said. "We are maturing as a team. We have three seniors and the other players are freshmen. We are 14 games into the season and a lot of the sloppy mistakes are gone. I am very pleased with the effort."

The Panthers held a 39-32 lead with 4:58 to go in the fourth quarter. The Knights cut the lead to 42-40 with 1:26 left in the game, but they could not get any closer.

In the boys game, Hancock senior forward Steven Beaver celebrated his 18th birthday by scoring 10 of his game-high 17 points in the first quarter.

"You can see the difference in the material," Hancock coach Ron Hose said. "We were there two years ago. There was just a big difference in physical maturity. Steven Beaver hit a couple of shots early to get us going and that kind of set the tone. Offensively, we got off to a good start. Defensively, we gave up a good bit of points in the first half. We turned up our defensive intensity in the second half."

B.J. Weller had 13 points and five steals, while Josh Unger added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Panthers (6-5). Jacob Foreman had six blocked shots and Spencer Golden had five assists for Hancock.

Caleb Serafini had 10 points and six rebounds for Grace (0-13). Kenny Frederickson had five rebounds and Zack Morgan had four assists for the Knights.

"They are too big for us," Grace coach John Basore said. "They're senior-loaded and we're sophomore-loaded. Their experience showed and that won the game for them."

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