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Hancock makes point to keep Rebels winless

January 23, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

Hancock's Hayley Ruppenthal knocked down one free throw with 47 seconds remaining that ultimately gave the Panthers a 32-31 win over South Hagerstown on Tuesday night.

Earlier, it did not appear that point would be so critical. The Panthers wasted a 27-19 lead in the final four minutes as South Hagerstown rallied behind Courtney Showe's theatrics to forge a 31-31 tie and move within reach of its first win of the year.

South, despite playing with four players in the final 2:06, had one last chance to at least tie - and possibly win - with no time remaining when freshman Kayla Freeman was fouled by Ruppenthal while rebounding Showe's final shot.

Almost like standing alone in a desert with both teams on the sideline, Freeman nicked the front of the iron on the first shot and missed the second, leaving South oh, so close in its 11th defeat.

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"I told (Kayla) her shots weren't the reason why we lost the game," said South coach Ray Singletary. "We've got some potential, we just didn't play as hard in the first half as we did in the second half.

"We didn't look ready to play and Hancock outhustled us in the first half. With as many freshmen, sometimes it's a learning curve. But they showed they could come back tonight."

With only one senior on the team and at times four freshmen on the floor, the Rebels came to life behind Showe's shooting.

From the left wing, she nailed a 3-pointer at the 4:05 mark to whittle the South deficit to 27-22. The teams traded baskets - Ruppenthal for Hancock and Showe for South - then Lexi Turano scored to make it 29-26.

After a Hancock (6-9) turnover, Showe hit another 3-pointer for a 29-29 tie with 3:08 left.

Brianna Swisher swished two free throws for Hancock but South's Dannielle Higgins hit an turnaround jumper for a 31-all tie with 1:17 to play.

Playing without one starter, a often-used reserve and Chelsea Stigile on the bench in the second half with an injury, Hancock absorbed its failure to connect from the field for two quarters by hitting 18 of 28 from the foul line.

"I feel bad for the (South) young lady but good for our girls," said Hancock coach Rocky Wills. "Patience has been our Achilles' heel and that's why we didn't score from the field. But we've got kids that may not always play well, but they play hard."

Ruppenthal was the only Panther to hit a goal, that coming with 1:33 left in the third period after their last goal at 2:01 of the first quarter.

"(Hayley) will mix it up and we need her in the lane and outside," said Wills. "We've got to deal with injuries but we had some girls that don't normally play alot give us a good effort."

Ruppenthal ended with 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds as the Panthers held a 36-30 margin on the boards.

Showe, who also scored five of South's nine points in the third period, ended with 14 points. Freeman, despite not scoring, had a team-high 11 rebounds.

South was forced into the four-player situation due to personal fouls when Turano became the third Rebel to foul out.

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