Indians down Hancock and makes it Smartt

January 29, 2008|By CURT HORNBECKER

HANCOCK -- With its scant, one-point lead in jeopardy, Southern Fulton played it Smartt.

Southern Fulton guard Jesse Smartt drained a 19-foot jumper to squelch a Hancock rally and propel the Indians to a 52-37 victory over its arch rival before a capacity crowd.

The Panthers (6-9) had an opportunity to take the lead, but turned the ball over. Smartt made them pay.

"That was huge," said Hancock coach Ron Hose of Smartt's bucket. "If we could have taken the lead, the crowd would have been with us and it would have gotten the teams on its toes."

Josh Unger's layup to end the third period started an 8-2 spree for Hancock to all but wipe out Southern Fulton's 32-25 lead. But after Smartt's basket, the Indians (14-7) reeled off 15 of the game's last 19 points and controlled the boards at both ends of the floor to walk away with the win.


Southern Fulton faced a similar situation the last time it faced Hancock, but was unable to stop a late Panthers run.

"We didn't close them out at the Christmas tournament," said Indians coach Kent Hendershot. "Our goal was to keep them from coming back and we did that. We forced some turnovers and made our free throws down the stretch."

Hancock faced an uphill climb throughout most of the game, unable to match Southern Fulton's first-quarter, 3-point barrage. Two bombs from Jake McCarthy and one by Smartt shot the Indians to a 15-11 advantage by the end of the first quarter. It was a lead they never relinquished.

Tommy Kratz's 15-footer and Matt McCoy's free throw pulled the Panthers to within 22-18 at the half, but Indians managed to keep Hancock at bay until the fourth period.

Every Hancock player scored, but none reached double digits. Lucas Mellott paced the Indians with 15 points.

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