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Favorites win in Shootout

December 27, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- In the 23-year history of the Tri-State Shootout that annually brings together the Clear Spring, Hancock, Southern Fulton and Berkeley Springs boys basketball teams, upsets have been commonplace.

But not Friday. The teams with a combined one loss defeated the teams with a combined one win and set up a championship showdown tonight.

Josh Hall's last 3-pointer helped Southern Fulton hold off Hancock's upset bid as the Indians scored a 46-39 victory to remain undefeated. Then Clear Spring rolled to a 42-23 rebounding advantage that was the main difference in the Blazers' 56-47 win over host Berkeley Springs.

Clear Spring (4-1) will face Southern Fulton (6-0) in the final tonight at 7:30 p.m. Hancock (1-4) and Berkeley Springs (0-4) will battle for third place at 6.

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· The opening game was a rematch of a Dec. 13 encounter in which Southern Fulton's defense completely shut down Hancock in a 43-22 victory. The Panthers, however, scored 19 fourth-quarter points Friday and threw a major scare into the Indians.

"(Hancock) made some tough shots down the stretch. They played a great game, were patient and hung around," Southern Fulton coach Kent Hendershot said. "We were able to make enough foul shots to keep a cushion, but we were lucky to get out of here with a win."

Nick Harvey's layup following an Indians turnover brought Hancock with a point at 37-36 with two minutes left. Seconds later, Hall drilled his 3 from the right wing to push the lead back to four with 1:48 left.

"That was huge," Hendershot said. "At that point, (Hancock) had taken the momentum. Senior players step up, and he stepped up. We really needed a big bucket."

Southern Fulton made 4 of 6 foul shots down the stretch, and even though Jarrod McCoy's 3 from the left wing cut Hancock's deficit to 42-39 with 46.9 seconds left, the Panthers' shots in the closing seconds were all astray. Josh Wertz's transition layup with 4 seconds left sealed the Indians' victory.

Hancock made 6 of 10 field goals and 6 of 8 foul shots in the fourth quarter to make a game of it. Tommy Kratz led the way with 13 points.

"We don't shoot the ball badly, we just don't get a lot of attempts because we turn the ball over," Panthers coach Ron Hose said. "When we get to the line, we have to make it count."

Wertz had 12 points and Hall added 11 to lead Southern Fulton.

· Clear Spring spread the scoring duties out. Six players -- Kyle Crist (11), Jordan Thurber (nine), Cody Englehart (eight), Joel Rowe (eight), Jordan Lavender (seven) and Brandon Glazer (six) -- scored at least six points, and the Blazers' lead over Berkeley Springs grew to as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter.

"It's been like that all year," Clear Spring coach Mark Shives said. "We haven't really had a leading scorer in any game. One game, we do it in the paint, the next game it's outside."

Ryan Redick scored 10 of his 13 points in the second quarter, while Robert Willard added 11 for the Indians.

Shives expects to see Southern Fulton's best today.

"Kent's going to have his guys ready," Shives said. "They're going to be disciplined and bring to the table what they always bring."

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