Berkeley Springs loses to Southern Fulton in championship game of Tri-State Shootout
Berkeley Springs defeated Hancock 81-70 on Wednesday, December 27, in the opening round of the Tri-State Shootout, before falling to Southern Fulton, 54-32, in the championship game the following evening.
A 10-minute scoring drought in the title game was more than the Tribe could overcome.
After Berkeley Springs took a 7-3 lead over Southern Fulton at the 2:35 mark of the opening quarter, Southern Fulton went on a 22-0 run over the next 10 minutes and 25 seconds, before Sammy Trump scored a basket in the lane to break the long scoring drought with only 10 seconds remaining in the half. Even with the basket, the Tribe had little momentum entering the intermission down 25-9.
"We had some good looks, but the we couldn't get the ball in the basket," said Berkeley Springs coach Chad Brinegar. "We couldn't even make a free throw."
The irony was that Berkeley Springs, which scored only two second-quarter points against Southern Fulton, scored 30 second-quarter points the night before against Hancock to take control of that game.
Although down 16 points, Berkeley Springs wasn't about to roll over and die. They came out in the second half with renewed energy and exploited the Southern Fulton man-to-man defense, with several pretty backdoor cuts, resulting in several easy baskets.
The Indians scored more points in the third quarter, 15, than they did in the entire first half, but could not dent the Southern Fulton lead. In fact, by the time the quarter ended, Southern Fulton had stretched their advantage to 18 points, 42-24.
Back-to-back buckets from L.J. Wright and Foster Sirbaugh to open the fourth quarter, cut Southern Fulton's lead to 42-28, but that was as close as Berkeley Springs would get, as their Pennsylvania rival pulled away for the 54-32 victory.
"Southern Fulton is a well coached team and they played well tonight," Brinegar said. "They shot the ball well and were patient."
Foster Sirbaugh led the Indian offense with 12 points, brother Nathan added eight, Wright six, Trump four and Ricky Yost two for Berkeley Springs.
Brad Divel led Southern Fulton with 17 points.
The day before Nathan Sirbaugh scored 28 points, including 17 in the second quarter, to lead the Indians past Hancock 81-70.
Although the Berkeley Springs offense was clicking, it was the Panthers that came out of the gate on fire, scoring 27 first-quarter points for a 12-point lead, 27-15, after the opening eight minutes of action.'
That is when Nathan Sirbaugh took over, nailing five three-point bombs, canning three free throws and a two-point basket, as the Indians erased the 12-point deficit and took a 45-37 lead into the half-time locker room.
"Nate was on fire," Brinegar said. "When he gets in the groove he can really shoot."
Nathan Sirbaugh cooled off in the third quarter, but brother Foster, Will Clark and Trump scored six, five and four points, respectively, to increase the lead to 63-51 after three quarters of play.
The two teams traded baskets in the final eight minutes, with Berkeley Springs earning an 11-point win.
"This is a big rivalry and we always expect their best shot," said Brinegar. "They have a nice team and gave us all we wanted."
Wright added 16 points for Berkeley Springs, Foster Sirbaugh 14, Clark 11, Trump eight and Josh Wise four, to round out the Indian offense.
Josh Unger and Kaleb Norris scored 18 points each for Hancock.
Berkeley Springs (3-3) will play at Paw Paw this Friday, January 5.