Indians beat Petersburg in opener
The opening round of boys sectional basketball contest against Petersburg was late starting, but the wait was worth it, as the Indians team cruised past visiting Petersburg, 61-43, on Tuesday, February 28, in Berkeley Springs.
Berkeley Springs Brady Spielman controlled the opening tip and Richard Recio scored in the post on the game's opening possession to give the Indians the early lead. Petersburg then went on an 8-2 run to grab their largest lead of the game, 8-4.
The Indians ramped up the defensive pressure, and Derrick Cowles got hot, as the Tribe went on their own run and took a 14-10 lead with 1:36 remaining in the opening eight minutes. Petersburg scored to close the gap to two points, before Kyle Appel scored in the closing seconds to give the Indians a four point lead, 16-12, as the first quarter buzzer sounded.
"We went to the press about midway through the opening quarter and it forced Petersburg to play at a pace they weren't comfortable," said Berkeley Springs Coach Jeremy Horvat. “The pressure seemed to rattle them and get us into a nice flow offensively."
With B. Spielman controlling the glass, Recio controlling the inside and Cowles remaining hot, Berkeley Springs outscored Petersburg 16-7 in the second stanza to take a 32-19 halftime lead.
"It doesn't always show up in the box score, but our ability to control the boards, get the break started and play solid defense tonight was huge," Horvat said. “I said earlier in the year that I thought Brady was one of the best rebounders in the Eastern Panhandle and he certainly displayed those skills tonight (Spielman is averaging more than 12 rebounds per game). I think he ended with 16 rebounds, but that doesn't tell the entire story. He forced a lot of bad shots on the inside and blocked three shots. He and Richard (Recio) controlled the paint tonight."
Cowles ended the first half with 16 points, Recio seven and Spielman five.
Three points by Recio and a free throw from Cowles gave the Indians a 15 point lead, 36-21, with 6:23 remaining in the third quarter.
But, just when it looked like Petersburg might be ready to fold, they went on an 8-3 run to close to within eight points, 39-31. Berkeley Springs answered with Appel scoring consecutive buckets on the inside, followed by a three-pointer from Cowles and a free throw by Wise to end the quarter with a 47-31 lead.
"That spurt we made at the end of the third quarter was big," Horvat said. “Petersburg had climbed back into the game, but our kids responded and gave us a comfortable lead heading down the stretch."
Petersburg hit a three to open the fourth quarter, but Appel and Recio scored on the inside, followed by a pair of free throws from B. Spielman to give the Indians a 17 point lead, 53-36, with just over three minutes left in the game. Berkeley cleared the bench, but still kept rolling and led 61-40 before a late bucket by Petersburg accounted for the final margin of victory.
"I was really pleased with the effort tonight," Horvat said. “I thought we played smart and showed a lot of hustle. We haven't given an effort like that in quite awhile."
Cowles paced the Indians with 20 points, Recio added 14, Appel 10, B. Spielman six, Michael Twigg and Zach Wise four each and Jared Spielman three.
"Derrick (Cowles) had a terrific game," said Horvat. “He made some big shots and really gave us a lift. Derrick took advantage of his opportunities tonight and he showed a lot of maturity. Early in the game he made a couple of three point shots and then cooled off. Instead of forcing shots from behind the arc, Derrick started using head fakes and getting closer to the baskets to score more points and draw some fouls. He really stepped up his game tonight."
Grant Shanholtz and Codi Rohrbaugh led Petersburg with 11 and 10 points, respectively.