HANCOCK—The Hancock Panthers overcame some mistakes and managed to do just enough to pull out a 32-31 victory over the visiting Saint James Saints on Saturday afternoon in a Washington County high school girls basketball game.
Hancock coach Todd Ruppenthal seemed relieved that his team got the win.
“We gave Saint James opportunities to win the game,” Hancock coach Todd Ruppenthal said. “We get a great effort from our girls every night. We just make bad decisions. We have to get our girls to make good decisions in a tight situation. We made 35 turnovers and they were taking advantage of that. They were getting some key rebounds, because we weren’t boxing out on them.”
Senior point guard Alisha Shives put Hancock (1-1) ahead to stay at 23-21 with 1:26 remaining in the third quarter when she scored off an offensive rebound.
Early in the fourth quarter, Shives turned a steal into a layup and senior center Sara Wagner got a bucket off an offensive rebound to extend the Panthers’ lead to 27-21 with 6:15 left.
Saint James (0-3) did not throw in the towel as it gradually chopped Hancock’s lead down to the final margin of 32-31 with 34 seconds left.
But the scoring for the game ended there to seal the win for the Panthers.
Wagner had team-high totals of 12 points and nine rebounds for Hancock. Shives had 11 points, eight steals, six rebounds and five assists for the Panthers, while junior guard Kristen Shoemaker had nine steals and senior forward Joan Leavy grabbed eight rebounds in the victory.
The Panthers shined on defense, coming through with 25 steals.
Senior forward Lisle Bruns finished with team-high totals of 13 rebounds and 11 points for Saint James, while sophomore center Sophia Remley hauled in 14 rebounds for the Saints.
“You can tell that it’s only the beginning of the season,” Saint James coach Jim Fahey said. “We rushed our shots too many times. We just rushed too much on the offensive end and that caused many turnovers. But that will improve as the season goes on. We will get better with our ballhandling.”
During the first seven minutes of the game, the Panthers built a 15-6 lead.
But the Saints came back to reduce the deficit to 19-17 by halftime.
“I think we have great potential,” Ruppenthal said. “We have seven seniors that have a good bit of experience that we really depend on.”
“I am proud of our team for the effort and heart that we showed,” Fahey said. “We never quit. We were actually just one shot away from winning the game.”
JV: Hancock, 37-30 (H: Paige Weller 13, SJ: Lisa Grady 9).
Hancock 32, Saint James 31
SAINT JAMES (0-3)
Fahey 4, Jenkinson 2, Bruns 11, Ludwick 6, Remley 5, Pennington 3. Totals 13 5-16 31.
McKinley 3, Bain 2, Shives 11, Shoemaker 2, Wagner 12, Leavy 2. Totals 15 0-3 32.
Saint James 8 9 4 10 — 31
Hancock 15 4 4 9 — 32
3-point goals — Hancock 2 (McKinley, Shives).