Berkeley Springs doubles up Paw Paw, 62-31
The Berkeley Springs boys basketball team connected on 12 long-range shots, on their way to a 62-31 win over Paw Paw on Friday, January 5, in Paw Paw.
The game was never in doubt after the opening eight minutes of play, as the Indians raced out to a 20-6 lead and never looked back on their way to the easy win.
With the comfortable lead, Berkeley Springs coach Chad Brinegar was able to play all 11 players on his bench during the first half of play. Despite substituting liberally, Berkeley Springs extended the lead to 35-15 by the time the buzzer sounded to end the first half.
"We shot the ball much better in this game," Brinegar said. "We've struggled from the outside the past couple of games, so it was nice to see the shots fall. I was also glad to get a lot of kids some playing time. All of the kids practice hard and they can't always be rewarded with playing time. Anytime you can get them into the game for some significant minutes it is a plus."
Nathan Sirbaugh who had tickled the twine for seven points in the first quarter, scored nine more in the third, to push the Indian lead to 51-23, and then took a seat on the bench and watched the Berkeley Springs reserve finish the game.
Ian Whibley came off the bench and scored five, fourth-quarter points and teammate Chris Sipe four, as the Indians walked away with the 31 point win.
"Paw Paw's down a little, but their kids play hard," Brinegar said. "There wasn't any quit in them."
Nathan Sirbaugh led the Indians in scoring with 16 points. Foster Sirbaugh scored 12, Ricky Yost seven, Whibley, Josh Wise and Sammy Trump five each, Sipe four and Jerry Parker two for Berkeley Springs.
Mike Bradford led the Pirates with nine points, Chris Kendall added seven, Mack Gebert six and Nick Corbett five to the Paw Paw total, while Vinnie Marion and TJ Holiday added two points apiece.
Three days earlier, on Tuesday, January 2, Berkeley Springs was beaten by cross-river rival Hancock 60-55.
The Panthers avenged an earlier loss to the Tribe, due in part to the 28 point effort from Steven Beaver. Beaver was solid the entire 32 minutes, scoring six points in the first quarter, 11 in the second, two in the third and nine more in the fourth to lead Hancock past the Indians.
But a bigger problem was Berkeley Springs' effort from the free throw line, where the Indians were only able to make 21 of 40 attempts. In close games, you have to be able to score from the free throw line, a fact that Brinegar emphatically emphasized.
"We have to start shooting better from the free throw line," said a dejected Brinegar. "We had 40 attempts tonight and only made about half of them. On the season we are shooting just a little over 50 percent from the free throw line. If we were shooting 60 percent we would be 6-2 instead of 4-4. Having said that, I have to give Hancock credit for coming in here and beating us. They have a really nice player in Beaver, and he really had a good game tonight. We just have to keep working and do the little things better like blocking out under our own backboard. We have to be more consistent."
Both teams got off to a slow start, with Hancock holding an 8-5 lead after the opening eight minutes of play. Both teams started finding their range in the second quarter, with the Panthers outscoring Berkeley Springs 21-18, to take a 29-23 lead into the half-time locker room.
Both teams cooled off again, with Hancock outscoring the Indians 9-7 in the third stanza for an eight point lead, 38-30 heading into the final quarter of action.
L.J. Wright poured in 11 fourth quarter points, as Berkeley Springs scored 25 points, but were unable to overcome the deficit, falling to the Panthers 60-55.
Wright led the Indians offense with 13 points, Will Clark added 11, Foster Sirbaugh 10, Trump and Nathan Sirbaugh seven each, Brian Ness four, Jeremy Michael two and Josh Wise one.
Berkeley Springs, 4-4, plays at Hampshire County on Friday, January 12, before hosting Petersburg on Tuesday, January 16.