Clean sweep: Starr's Mill boys, girls beat Whitewater

Fri, 12/21/2007 - 11:19pm
By: Kevin Wandra

The Starr’s Mill and Whitewater boys and girls basketball teams have struggled this season.

All four were looking for a confidence-boosting win Friday at the Panther Pit in Fayetteville.

The Starr’s Mill boys played one of their best games of the season, leading from start to finish in a 53-42 victory over Region 2-AAAA rival Whitewater.

The victory improved the Panthers’ record to 3-6 overall and 3-4 in the region. Whitewater dropped to 1-10 overall and 0-6 in the region.

The Lady Panthers proved that a win is a win, no matter how ugly it is, by defeating Whitewater 48-33.

Starr’s Mill’s girls improved their overall record to 3-5 and their region record to 2-5 with the victory. Whitewater dropped to 4-7 overall and 1-4 in the region.

Starr’s Mill’s boys patiently executed their motion offense, leading to numerous baskets off screens in the paint.

They spread the ball around effectively; the Panthers’ balanced scoring attack was led by three players in double figures: Mark Conard (a game-high 14 points), Justin Smith (12) and Colin Elias (10 points), who controlled the tempo from his point guard position.

Starr's Mill coach Brandon Hutchins said one player in particular stood out, his big man in the middle, Conard.

"Mark Conard, our big guy, had a great game," Hutchins said. "He was all over the place tonight. He's really come along and become a good post player for us."

The Panthers held at least one double-digit lead in all but the first quarter; it led by as many as 15 with 1:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Whitewater was down by only seven (39-32) early in the fourth quarter, but two baskets by Conard, a layup and a tip-in, a layup by Smith and a steal and layup by Andrew Davis extended Starr’s Mill’s lead to double digits (47-36), and Whitewater never recovered.

"We still have a lot to work on, but we're developing as a team," Hutchins said. "Every time you beat a crosstown rival, it's a good win."

Whitewater’s high scorers were Renaldo Jenkins (12 points) and Sean Sargent (nine).

In the girls game, both teams experienced plenty of sloppy moments — it was a foul-filled game, with the teams combining to shoot 63 free throws — but Starr’s Mill was in control throughout.

The Lady Panthers saved their best for last, turning in a 19-point fourth quarter that finished off the Lady Wildcats. Sparked by Marissa Ring, who scored a game-high 15 points, and Alexis Shaffer, who scored 14, Starr’s Mill led by as many as 14 late in the fourth quarter.

Starr’s Mill’s defense also played a role in its victory; the Lady Panthers held Whitewater to single digits in all but one quarter, seven points in the first quarter, eight in the second and five in the third quarter.

The third quarter was the only quarter in which the Lady Panthers were held to single digits; they scored only six points in the third quarter.

Whitewater’s high scorers were Jackie Gittins (nine points) and Tori Murray (eight).

More information to come tomorrow.

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