Indians soar past Falcons
Berkeley Springs nailed eight 3-point shots in the first half against visiting Frankfort on Friday, December 16, and then cruised to a convincing 64-48 win over their longtime sectional rival.
The game was one-sided from the outset as the Indians got a bucket from Zach Wise and a 3-pointer from Jared Spielman for a quick 5-0 lead. After Richard Recio scored on the inside giving the Tribe a 7-2 advantage, Wise hit back-to-back bombs from behind the arc and the rout was on. Dylan Whipple put an exclamation point on Berkeley Springs first-quarter domination, when he connected on the fourth 3-point shot of the quarter, extending the lead to 18-4.
The long range display continued as Wise nailed a three to open the second quarter, followed by another from Jared Spielman and yet another from Wise (his fourth of the game), sandwiched around a basket from Derrick Cowles, giving Berkeley Springs its largest lead of the game, 29-8.
"The kids did a fantastic job," said Indian coach Jermey Horvat. “We really pushed them hard over the last week or so with emphasis on getting off to a quicker start. I thought we were as aggressive defensively as we have been all year and got a lot of points that were set up by our defense. One reason we were able to knock down so many three point shots was, because we were doing a great job of getting the ball down low and our ‘bigs’ were doing a great job of finding the open guy on the perimeter when they tried to double us down low. This was, by far, the best half of basketball we have played all year."
The Tribe outscored their Mineral County foe 10-5 over the final four minutes of the quarter and headed to the break with a commanding 39-15 lead.
Frankfort went on a 6-2 run to start the second half, but the Indians controlled the remainder of the third stanza, and
led 54-27 heading into the final quarter of regulation.
Cowles hit Berkeley Springs' 10th 3-point shot of the night to open the final quarter, giving the Tribe a 30 point lead, 57-27.
The Falcons had their most productive quarter of the game, outscoring the Indians 21-7 down the stretch, but it was too little, too late, as Berkeley Springs coasted to the double digit win.
One factor in Berkeley Springs success was the play of Michael Twigg in the paint. The 6-6 senior was very disruptive on the inside blocking several Falcon shots and altering many others.
"He had a lot of blocks and provided a lot of intimidation," Horvat said of Twigg. “You could see kids fall back as they were shooting, or adding arc to the ball, when he was in the game. He has room to grow, but has really improved a lot since our first practice."
Wise paced the Indians with 16 points, Jared Spielman added 11, Derrick Cowles 10, Twigg, Ryan Tyser and Whipple six points each, Recio four, Brady Spielman and Brady Smith two each, and Kaleb Athey one.
Thane Cutter and Matthew Grogg scored eight points each for the Falcons.
The Indians traveled to Paw Paw earlier in the week (December 13) and came home with an easy 83-32 victory over the game, but outmanned the Pirates.
Berkeley Springs got off to another good start, leading 23-6 after one quarter of play and 47-15 at the half. The Indians continued to dominate Paw Paw after the break and coasted to the lopsided victory.
Recio led a balanced Indian offense with 14 points. Cowles scored 13, Athey nine, Tyser eight, Twigg eight, Wise eight, Whipple seven, Jared Spielman five, Michael Kearney five, Smith three, Brady Spielman two and B.J. Michael one for the Indians.
Josh Newlon led the Pirates with 11 points, Ethan Holliday added nine, David Delawder eight and River Weese four.
"One thing I was really happy to see against Paw Paw was our kids focus," Horvat said. “Sometimes when you are a heavy favorite you don't come out with the intensity and discipline you'd like. It is something you always worry about a little, but I have to give the kids credit for coming right out of the gate with the kind of focus and intensity you need. It was also a good opportunity to get a lot of guys some playing time."
The Indians, 3-1, will be tested over the next couple of weeks.
They play Clear Spring at home on December 22, and again, in the opening round of the Tri-State Shootout, on December 26. On the 27th they will face either Hancock or Southern Fulton, before heading south to play in the Wyoming East Tournament on December 29, which will be held at Westside High School in Wyoming County, according to Horvat.
"We are really going to work on fundamentals in practice over the next week," said Horvat. “We also want to begin installing some individual plays into our offense that will best utilize the strengths of our players. We were pleased with the quick starts the last two games and want to continue emphasizing its importance."
In junior varsity action, Berkeley Springs downed Frankfort 53-38. Michael Kearney and B.J. Michael led the Indians with 16 and 13 points, respectively.