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Beardstown Tournament

January 7, 2013
Warsaw High School

BEARDSTOWN, Ill. — The West Hancock Titans gave head coach Adam Brumbaugh a belated Christmas gift Wednesday.

West Hancock advanced to the quarterfinals of the Lady Tiger Classic by winning two games in a short span of time during the opening day of the tournament. The Titans started by defeating Beardstown, the host school, 74-48. West Hancock then avenged a loss in the season opener by knocking off Unity, the third seed among the 24 teams, 50-48.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” Brumbaugh said. “This has got to rank up as one of the biggest days in my three years here as a coach. We had lost three games in a row. We were kind of on a cold streak, and I wasn’t sure how the girls were going to rebound coming back from Christmas break, but they sure played well.

“Against Unity, we wanted this game. We were looking forward to this possible match-up. They beat us early on in a conference game, and we just wanted to get some revenge and show that we’ve improved.”

West Hancock’s game with Unity featured four ties and 10 lead changes. The Titans led by as many as eight points early in the third quarter, but the Lady Mustangs battled back to take a 45-38 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

Allison Dewald started West Hancock’s comeback in the fourth quarter with a three-pointer. Alexis Dooley scored inside off a pass from Haleigh Hammel to cut the deficit to two. Hammel and Madison Harmon each made one of two free throws to tie the game, and Shelby Koehler made one of two free throws to give the Titans a 46-45 lead with 3:38 remaining.

“Unity was 12-1 coming in. They are a very disciplined, balanced, fundamentally sound team,” Brumbaugh said. “We chipped away at them. We were down six in the first quarter and got down seven in the fourth quarter. We easily could have given up. Time was against us and our legs weren’t with us, but they refused to lose. They pounded away. The fact that we got them into foul trouble early really helped us with those free throws down the stretch. We weren’t afraid to attack their defense, but ultimately our patience against their 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones paid off.”

Breanne Begeman ended Unity’s scoring drought with a basket that helped the Lady Mustangs reclaim the lead. Begeman added one of two free throws after a West Hancock turnover to extend the margin to 48-46 with 1:53 left.

It was the last scoring opportunity Unity had in the game.

Hammel made the first of two free throws to cut the deficit to 48-47. The Titans got the ball back after a turnover by the Lady Mustangs. Carly Runge missed a three-pointer, but Unity was whistled for traveling with 1:04 remaining.

West Hancock took advantage. Hammel hit a baseline jumper that gave the Titans the lead for good. Unity turned the ball over with 25 seconds left and again with 5.8 seconds remaining.

“I don’t know how many times this season they have been in that situation,” Brumbaugh said. “I know against Palmyra they were down and hit a three at the end to win that game, but how often have they been in those situations. Our kids have been in that situation a lot the last two seasons. We’re used to that, and the girls refused to give up. I don’t know how they did it. I got tired watching them. They just worked and worked and worked today. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Dooley was fouled with 3.5 seconds remaining and made one of two free throws to extend the lead to two. Unity’s last shot came up short when Jill Donley’s attempt from half-court hit the bottom of the backboard, giving West Hancock its second win of the day.

West Hancock was helped in the second game by getting all of its players time in the first game.

“All 10 of our kids played all four quarters of the first game. All 10 kids scored for us against Beardstown. I was hoping the effort our bench gave us in that game was going to carry over into the second half against Unity,” Brumbaugh said.

“There is a reason why we do all the conditioning that we do. There is a reason why in the summer we will play five games in a weekend. I think we run them enough in practice that in a game it is suppose to be easier. They seemed to say they had their legs under them, and they feel in better shape, even better than last year, with as much running as we did. That’s a credit to their hard work in practice.”

Hammel had 11 points, nine rebounds and two assists to lead West Hancock. Koehler and Runge each scored 10 points. Dewald added nine points, four rebounds and three assists. Dooley contributed eight points, eight rebounds and two assists, and Harmon finished with two points, four rebounds and three assists.

“Those kids are hard-nosed, resilient, tough kids,” Brumbaugh said. “They never give up. They found the energy and found a way to win.”

Begeman led Unity with 18 points, Maggie Bowles had 10 points before fouling out. Donley and Brooklyn Moore each finished with eight points.

West Hancock, the 14th seed, plays West Central, the sixth seed, at 3:30 p.m. today.

West Hancock 74, Beardstown 48

The two teams were tied at the end of the first quarter, but West Hancock pulled away in the second half.

West Hancock outscored the Lady Tigers 20-10 in the third quarter and 21-11 in the fourth quarter.

Dewald scored 15 points to lead the Titans. Koehler added 14 points. Dooley and Keaghan Shacklett each had eight points. Harmon and Taylor Kropp each netted seven points. Hammel tossed in six points, and Allyson Buckert, Aleetha Mulch and Runge each finished with three points.

Jill Harris led Beardstown with 18 points.


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