By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
NEW RICHMOND —
The eighth annual Family Healthcare Classic came to a close Friday night, and it was just that — classic.
The event, played at Wyoming East High School, saw four teams do battle on the hardwood hoping to make their presence felt on the road to Charleston and the state tournament.
The first game of the evening saw the Westside Renegades and the Point Pleasant Big Blacks do battle. Both teams were looking to make up for losses on Thursday night. The Renegades were defeated by Fairmont Senior 74-60, while the Big Blacks lost to Wyoming East.
This time, it would be the Renegades who would send the Big Blacks home with another loss, 67-61.
Both teams looked sloppy in the first half with missed layups and thrown-away passes. In a bit of a surprise, Westside trailed 12-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The Renegades regrouped in the second half when Levi Lambert, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Dillon Newsome, rejuvenated the offense with 7 points, including going 3 for 3 from the charity stripe.
However, the Big Blacks were led by senior guard Dillon McCarty, who hit a timely 3-pointer, to give Point the lead going into the half.
Things got chippy as both teams were exiting the court at halftime. Point Pleasant’s Wade Martin exchanged words with the Renegades and was given a technical foul. Not to be outdone, Westside’s Levi Lambert returned the words and was also hit with a technical.
However, a 6-0 run in the third would give Westside the lead, following a strong offensive display from Jason Scarlett and Newsome.
The Big Blacks wouldn’t give up without a fight, as McCarty kept Point Pleasant alive, going an impressive 14 for 14 from the line and scoring 26 points.
Lambert managed to steal the ball from McCarty with 8 seconds remaining and hit a layup to seal the victory for the Renegades.
After the game, Westside coach Nick Cook was none too pleased with his team’s outing, regardless of the victory.
“I’m just so frustrated with our team,” Cook said. “Don’t get me wrong, a win is a win, but we still got a long way to go. I’m just frustrated with how we played.
“We had a 12-point lead and gave it back to them. We have bad habits we need to break. We need to execute and take care of the basketball.”
Cook hopes to see the Renegades improve before their next game, at home against Wyoming East.
“It was a very sloppy, poorly played game,” Cook said. “One of those games where you’re just happy to get out of there with a win and move on to the next one.”
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Coach Rory Chapman was smiling ear-to-ear outside the locker room following his Warriors’ upset over Fairmont Senior, 73-63.
He had plenty of reason to smile. Wyoming East took the lead on a 3-pointer from Christian Hedinger, his first of 6 from beyond the arc, and never looked back. Through 32 minutes of basketball, the Warriors never allowed the Polar Bears to snatch the lead.
“I’ll tell ya, we just had a great week of practice,” Chapman said. “We knew what this was bringing. We knew the athletes they were bringing. I thought we matched their intensity all night long.”
Intense it was.
With just minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Fairmont Senior managed to get the deficit down to one several times, but the tenacity and toughness of Hedinger really shined through.
The 6-1 junior guard was everywhere on the court, from setting up plays at the top of the key, to crashing the boards in the paint.
“I’m pretty hot right now. It was a great victory for us. I love our team. The fans got us going,” Hedinger said.
The rowdy Wyoming East student section was in its best form, in the ear of Fairmont’s Jarin Hilson and Travon Horton all night. They were even leading chants of “MVP” directed toward Hedinger as he sank two free throws with less than a minute remaining.
“Those fans are great,” Chapman said. “We’re trying to make this a destination again. A place where you come to watch basketball and a great environment.”
As the game drew to a close, the Wyoming East fans had one more thing they wanted to say.
“We. Want. Westside.”
The first battle between the Renegades and the Warriors will take place Friday, Jan. 4, at Westside. Wyoming East is riding a five-game winning streak against the Renegades.
— E-mail: jrollins@
Westside 67, Point Pleasant 61
Wade Martin 4 0-0 4, Adam Slack 0 0-0 0, Alex Somerville 2 1-2 6, Robert Yates 2 2-3 7, Larry McCarty 5 14-14 26, Marquez Griffin 1 0-0 2, Garrett Norris 0 2-2 0. Totals: 18 19-21 61.
Corey Bowles 3 0-2 6, Justin Kenneda 2 3-3 7, Levi Lambert 5 1-3 12, Jason Scarlett 4 0-0 8, Justin Cogar 4 2-5 10, Dillon Newsome 5 4-6 16, Matt Harless 2 0-0 4, Jordan Browning 0 1-2 1. Totals: 22 11-21 67.
PP 12 16 14 21 — 61
W 9 18 32 17 — 67
3-pointers: PP: 2 (Somerville, McCarty), W: 2 (Newsome 2). Fouled Out: PP: Wade Martin.
Wyoming East 73,
Fairmont Senior 63
Jarin Hilson 6 8-10 20, Travon Horton 5 7-10 15, Austin Norman 0 0-0 0, Shaquille Washington 0 0-0 0, DeVante Waites 9 0-0 21, Tavon Horton 1 0-0 3, Darius Nunn 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 15-20 63.
Austin Canada 3 3-4 10, Cody Lester 3 4-4 10, Josh Tunstalle 3-5-7 11, Christian Hedinger 7 6-6 26, Brett Bowling 3 2-2 10, Tyler Lester 1 0-2 2, John Morgan 1 2-2 4. Totals: 21 22-27 73.
FS 18 12 13 10 — 63
WE 9 20 19 25 — 73
3-Pointers: FS: 3 (Travon Horton, Tavon Horton, Waites 2), WE: 7 (Canada, Hedinger 6). Fouled Out: FS: Travon Horton, Washington, WE: Bowling, Lester.