Beckley basketball fans can breathe a sigh of relief. The historic three-game home losing streak officially came to an end Tuesday night when the Flying Eagles defeated visiting Nitro Wildcats 74-47.
The Flying Eagles managed to get on the right side of history again with a total team effort on both sides of the ball.
When asked what he attributed the victory to, junior guard Donte Nabors had one word.
Intense it was, as the trademark stingy defense of the Flying Eagles smothered the Wildcats offense at midcourt time and time again, making it difficult for Nitro to mount any kind of scoring opportunity.
“We had a talk in the locker room about how we didn’t have any defense,” Nabors said. “We got it through our head and just played good defense.”
The Flying Eagles held Nitro’s leading scoring Angelo Sirianni to just 11 points, 10 points below his season average of 21.
“We just came out at it hard and played Beckley basketball,” Nabors said. “We made a few mistakes and laid down on defense some, and at the end of the game we just played hard defense.”
They played hard offense at the end of the game, too.
Beckley was leading 48-32 at the end of the third quarter but came out hot at the start of the fourth, going on a 12-0 run captained by big man Nequan Carrington. He had 20 points.
Carrington, a 6-foot-3 freshman, found his way into the starting lineup earlier this season when junior Daizjuan Fortune went down to injury.
“It feels pretty good (to be out there as a freshman),” Carrington said. “Since I’m the only freshman out there, for my other freshman teammates, they’re going to be looking at me as a leader in our junior and senior year.”
“It feels good having Nequan out there,” Nabors said. “He gets a lot of offensive rebounds for us. We look for him inside, and he scores us a lot of points.”
“Coach Kidd told me not to be scared to shoot the ball and go strong every time you have the ball in your hands,” Carrington said. “I just take what he gives me and put it out there on the floor.”
The win helped to right the ship for the Flying Eagles, a ship that was noticeably beginning to capsize.
“For a couple of our losses, I think we had got comfortable where we were beating teams by 20 points,” Carrington said. “We can’t b e satisfied. We’ve got to stay hungry all the way until states. We’ve got to want more and accomplish more.
“We’ve just got to play team ball. We were getting sick and tired of losing,” he continued. “We didn’t want to let Coach Kidd down. He told us we’re not going to lose no more. We just came together and refused to lose by any means. That’s all it was. Refuse to lose.”
Nabors echoed those sentiments.
“We ain’t losing no more,” Nabors said. “We had lost three straight at home; we ain’t losing no more.”
The vitory marked the end of a historic three-game skid for the Flying Eagles, who had not lost three games on Dave Barksdale Court since the Preach Williams-coached team opened the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center (formerly The Armory) in 1962. That team was historic in its own right. It was the only team in Woodrow history to go undefeated and win the state championship.
“It feels good to get the victory,” Carrington said. “Hopefully we don’t lose no more.”
Beckley will have a week off to practice before its next game, at Capital on Jan. 22.
“We’ve got to work on defense,” Nabors said. “Talking on defense. Learning how to fight through tough screens and work on Beckley basketball.”
Kidd’s word may have motivated his team to victory, however, the 12-year coach of the Flying Eagles once again refused to speak to the media following the win.
Woodrow Wilson 74, Nitro 47
Angelo Sirianni 4 0-0 11, Trevon Taylor 3 2-2 9, Jonathan Mawyer 2 0-0 4, Sam Neff 2 0-0 4, Ethan Clark 3 0-0 6, Hunter Ferrari 3 2-2 8, Josiah Bosley 2 1-1 5. Totals: 19 5-5 47.
Woodrow Wilson (6-4)
Corey Acord 1 2-2 4, Andrew Johnson 3 1-1 7, Nick Deems 1 0-0 2, Donte Nabors 8 3-4 19, Chase Hancock 5 2-5 12, Noah Hancock 2 0-0 4, Nequan Carrington 8 4-6 20, Brent Osborne 2 2-3 6, Devan Bentley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 14-21 74.
N 6 13 13 15 — 47
WW 12 13 13 26 — 74
3-point goals — N: 4 (Sirianni 3, Taylor); WW: None. Fouled out — None.