By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
The good news for the Wyoming East Warriors? They’ll get a rematch with county rival Westside tonight in the Big Atlantic Classic. The bad news? It will be in the consolation round.
The Class AA No. 3 Warriors were knocked off by the No. 5 Robert C. Byrd Flying Eagles on Tuesday night 65-58.
It was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, with neither seeming to have the clear advantage. However, Robert C. Byrd was able to outscore Wyoming East 20-14 in the final quarter to pull away.
“I think their depth helped them quite a bit,” Wyoming East coach Rory Chapman said. “It’s the little things. It’s running a set that you run all the time. It’s perfecting that set. When you come into a game like this, you have to execute in any phase of the game. We didn’t execute tonight at all.”
It wasn’t the typical Wyoming East basketball game. A team that is so disciplined in the basics played a sloppy game of basketball from start to finish. The Warriors turned the ball over 24 times, including seven from the normally automatic guard Austin Canada.
“I don’t think we played very good. Anytime you turn the ball over 24 times, you’re not going to beat a top 5 team,” Chapman said.
“It felt like we were never into the game. We didn’t score in halfcourt sets. We didn’t run things right. We turned the ball over way too much. We didn’t block out. We’ve been talking about the little things. You need a rebound, you get a rebound. You need a steal, you get a steal. You need to make a foul shot, you make a foul shot. That’s what they did that we didn’t do.”
The loss created a matchup for the Warriors with Westside. It’s been five years since Westside last defeated Wyoming East. The last time the two teams played was earlier this month in Clear Fork, with the Warriors picking up the win, 67-57.
“I just told my guys, I don’t enjoy losing but we’ve got the biggest game of the short season tomorrow,” said Chapman. “They’ll be fired up. I hope we will. They’re playing really well right now. We’ve got to come over here and match up with them.”
Wyoming East and Westside will play in the Class AA consolation round of the Big Atlantic Classic today at 5:20 p.m. Robert C. Byrd will match up with the No. 1 Bluefield Beavers in the championship game Saturday at 2 p.m.
Robert C. Byrd (10-3)
Iziah Hill 8 1-3 16, Kevin Steele 2 0-0 5, Nick Dyer 2 0-3 5,k Devonti Birch 10 1-1 20, Justin Nobles 4 0-1 8, Ronnie Fox 0 0-0 0, Julian Malfregeot 3 0-0 6, Luke Dyer 0 0-0 0, Devin Langford 3 1-2 7. Totals: 33 4-10 65.
Wyoming East (10-3)
Austin Canada, 3 4-4 9, John Morgan 0 2-2 2, Josh Tunstalle 3 5-8 10 Christian Hedinger 4 2-2 9, Brett Bowling 9 5-8 22, Kyle Sandy 0 0-0 0, Cody Lester 3 2-2 8 Joseph Cornett 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 18-26 58
RCB 10 16 19 20 — 65
WE 8 20 16 14 — 58
3-point goals — RCB: 3 (Hill, Steele, Birch); WE 4 (Canada, Tunstalle, Hedinger, Bowling). Fouled out — none.