WARFORDSBURG - Points were going to be hard to come by - that much had been proven already.
So Southern Fulton and McConnellsburg were looking for some kind of edge when they met for the second time this season in a Sideling Hill/Inter-County Conference boys basketball battle Friday night at a jam-packed SF court.
The difference, as it has been in the last few matchups between these rivals, was the height and size the Indians have inside and they used that to produce a 47-36 victory.
"I think we do have an advantage with height," said SF's Branden Lynch, who scored a key three-point play in the fourth period, "and we didn't let them penetrate. They're a pretty strong team, but we rebounded well and that was big."
The Indians (14-3, 11-1 SHL, 11-0 ICC) held a 29-19 lead in rebounding, and that included 11 offensive boards. The 6-foot-5 Lynch pulled down 13 off the glass, and Trent Rider had seven.
Southern Fulton coach Kent Hendershot said, "Lynch was huge. He's just a sophomore and he's starting to blossom. He's had some monster practices and and if he can do that in games it'll improve us so much because it will change the way teams have to defend us."
Lynch scored only five points, but the three-point play was a killer. The Indians had pulled away to a 26-12 lead late in the third quarter, but the Spartans (13-3, 9-2 SHL, 7-2 ICC) were not finished. When Landon Richards canned a 3-pointer and Jake Boehme flushed a jumper right after that, the lead was down to 32-26 and it just felt like a swing in momentum was possible.
Boehme said, "We thought we still had a chance at that point."
Then Lynch received a pass near the foul line and the McConnellsburg defense backed off. After a couple of seconds, Lynch decided to shoot. The ball went in, and he was fouled. The lead never got under eight again.
"I wasn't sure if I should shoot," Lynch said, "but eventually I had enough confidence."
Spartan coach Dane Pollock said, "I thought Lynch had a helluva game - he got a lot of rebounds and he's able to guard off the ball pretty well for a guy his size."
Early on, defense ruled. Not surprising, considering SF's earlier win over McConnellsburg was 40-27. The Indians made no field goals (0-for-5) in the first period, while holding the Spartans without a made shot (0-for-4) in the second.
Rider scored seven of his 17 points - all inside a 12-0 run - in the second period to give Southern Fulton a lead it never relinquished.
McConnellsburg was getting some looks from outside, but not enough went through the net and it could get almost nothing going inside.
Pollock said, "We only had six layups, and we only made three of them."
Meanwhile, 12 of SF's 16 baskets were on layups or putbacks.
"We limited them in what they wanted to do by keeping them out of the paint," Hendershot said. "We were effective on defense, because it's tough to defend all those ball screens they set up."
Pollock said, "It was just tough to get to the rim because they clog up the middle so well. We did start to find some things that got us open, but we didn't hit enough shots."
Boehme said, "We can't get penetration on them, but we have to attack them earlier in the game. And it comes down to who gets rebounds, because you get more shots that way."
Notes: Rider and Gordon (16) were the only Indians in double figures, while for McConnellsburg, Boehme had 13 and Richards and Chase Novak had 10 each ... Ryan Koontz had six boards for the Spartans, who had only five offensive rebounds ... Gordon sat the final 4:36 of the second quarter with two fouls, but McConnellsburg could not cut into the lead during that time.
Southern Fulton 47, McConnellsburg 36
Jake Boehme 6-11 0-0 13, Quintin Miller 0-1 2-2 2, Ryan Koontz 0-3 0-0 0, Chase Novak 2-11 4-4- 10, Ian Cheatle 0-5 0-0 0, Landon Richards 3-8 2-2 10, Shawn Garlock 0-0 1-2 1, Ethan Barclay 0-0 0-0 0, Nic Culler 0-0 0-0 0, Chance Hawbaker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 11-39 9-10 36.
So. Fulton (47)
Carl Potter 0-4 3-5 3, Zach Clark 1-6 2-3 4, Dylan Gordon 7-9 2-2 16, Trent Rider 6-11 4-4 17, Branden Lynch 2-7 1-4 5, Owen Hawkins 1-2 0-1 2, Logan Beatty 0-1 0-0 0, Chase Varner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 16-40 12-19 47.
McConnellsburg _ 5 _ 5 _ 9 _ 17 _ — _ 36
So. Fulton _ 1 _ 16 _ 11 _ 19 _ — _ 47
3-point goals — McC 5-12 (Novak 2, Richards 2, Boehme), SF 1-7 (Rider).
JV score — McConnellsburg 37, Southern Fulton 30.