Stifling second-half defense propels Indians past Musselman, 63-45
The Berkeley Springs boys basketball team shook off the "snow rust," and avenged an earlier loss by beating Musselman, 63-45, on Friday, February 16, in Berkeley Springs.
When the longtime rivals first played on January 30, Berkeley Springs had one of its worst shooting nights of the season, making only eight of 41 shots,
Although there were frigid temperatures outside the gym, Berkeley Springs came out on fire this time, making eight of their first 12 shots. The quick start enabled the Indians to take a two-point lead, 19-17 after the first quarter of play, before Musselman outscored Berkeley Springs 15-12 in the second stanza for a 32-31 lead at the break.
"We didn't play defense the way we can in the first half," said Berkeley Springs coach Chad Brinegar. "We talked about it in the locker room and the kids came out in the second half and executed well."
It was clear in the opening minutes of the third quarter that the half-time adjustments were making a difference. The defensive intensity paid dividends, with Berkeley Springs holding Musselman to only four third-quarter, points. The defensive effort was complemented with 17 points on offense, giving Berkeley Springs a 48-36 lead heading into the final quarter of regulation.
The Tribe kept the defensive pressure on Musselman in the final eight minutes and cruised to the surprisingly easy 18-point victory.
"We played with tremendous defensive intensity in the second half," Brinegar said. "If we can play defense like that in the post season, I think we can surprise some people."
Nathan Sirbaugh scored 15 points and L.J. Wright 14 to lead the Indian offense. Robbie Williams and Sammy Trump added eight points each, while Jermey Michael and Lenny Roach rounded out the offense with four and three points, respectively.
Allen Kees led Musselman with 22 points.
Whether it was the long bus ride to East Hardy, games in back-to-back days or that Keyser has the superior team, Berkeley Springs was unable to get anything going on Saturday, February 17, losing to the Golden Tornado 62-31, at the PVC Night of Champions in Baker.
"We just never seemed to really get into the flow of things," said Brinegar. "We seemed to play timid, did not shoot the ball well and gave up too many easy baskets in transition."
It didn't take Keyser long to establish control, as they raced out to a 20-10 lead at the end of the opening quarter and then increased their lead to 15 points, 33-18 at the half.
The offensive struggles continued for Berkeley Springs in the second half, as Keyser held the Indians to only 13 second-half points and coasted to the easy victory.
Nathan Sirbaugh was the only Berkeley Springs player in double figures with 10 points, Foster Sirbaugh scored eight points, Wright six, Josh Wise, Roach and Williams two apiece and Brian Ness one.
Berkeley Springs, 10-10 on the year, will close out the regular season this week with a home game on Wednesday, February 21 and a road contest at Hedgesville on Friday, February 23