Crusaders cruise into sectional title game

Greater Beckley Christian’s Isaiah Hairston (22) is fouled going up for a layup by Summers County’s (32) and (21) during their Class AA Region 3, Section 2 torunament game in Prosperity on Thursday. (Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald)

Greater Beckley Christian hadn't played in over two weeks, and it showed early Thursday night.

Things picked up from there.

The Crusaders used a 17-0 run in the second quarter to pull away from an inspired Summers County team and win 80-38 in the Class A Region 3, Section 2 semifinals in Prosperity.

Greater Beckley (18-4) will play for the sectional championship Friday against Mount View. The game will be played at Montcalm High at 7 p.m.

The Golden Knights advanced by upsetting defending region co-champion Greenbrier West 57-51 in the other semifinal.

Summers County stayed close throughout the first quarter, trailing by just five after the first quarter. The Bobcats got to 16-13 early in the second when Logan Fox stole the ball at midcourt and went in for a layup.

"I think you have to go into every game with confidence or you don't have much of a chance," Summers County coach Robert Bowling said. "I thought we controlled the pace of the game there for a while. We missed some chip shots, missed some easy ones. Typically if you miss an easy one on one end, (the opponent) they go on the other end and get another one."

That's what happened Thursday, but it took a while.

The Crusaders shot poorly from 3-point range early, missing seven of their first eight attempts. They eventually warmed up, and that three-point deficit became a 35-13 lead thanks to a 17-0 run.

Greater Beckley was playing its first game since a victory over Greenbrier East on Feb. 18 and the rust showed.

"Summers County is very well coached. They play hard and are a very determined bunch of kids," Greater Beckley coach Brian Helton said. "Hats off to them because they came to play in the first quarter. We missed a lot of shots at the start. I thought as the game got going and we got our sweat going and seemed to get in more of a game rhythm, we shot the ball a little bit better."

While the Crusaders struggled from the outside, Isaiah Hairston was in control down low. He finished with a game-high 22 points and was all over the boards.

"Isaiah just does such a great job on the glass," Helton said. "Even when we were not shooting good in the first half, he just cleaned everything up and stuck it back in. My hat's off to him because he just did a tremendous job in the first half."

Dawson Ratliff scored 10 points and Trent Meador eight for the Bobcats, who finished their season 9-15.

"Lots of adversity this year," Bowling said. "Had a kid who blew out his knee and couldn't play. At least 10 cases of the flu. We had two concussions. We lost a tooth. Just lots of adversity. But I want to give my guys credit. They really battled and we lost, maybe, five games by less than three points. We just really struggled to get over the hump.

"I thought they tried to do everything I asked them to tonight. I'd be much happier if we won, but it's hard to fault people that are trying to do what they are supposed to do. A lot of integrity just walked out of this room."

Sean Hoskins scored 12 points for the Crusaders, as did freshman John Rose — all on 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Thad Jordan added 11.

Now it's on to Mercer County for a shot at home court advantage in next week's Region 3 co-finals.

"It's great, because no matter what happens (Friday) we still get to be a team for another week," Helton said. "We just want to be together and keep playing. I have really enjoyed this season, so as long as we can make it last, that's our goal."

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Summers County

Sam Whittaker 1, Logan Fox 2, Levi Jones 3, Noah Barnes 5, Trent Meador 8, Dawson Ratliff 10, Dylan Hardy 2, Hunter Thomas 7.

Greater Beckley Christian

Elijah Edwards 7, Thad Jordan 11, Isaiah Hairston 22, Kristian Krunic 3, Ezra Drumheller 2, Sean Hoskins 12, Kaden Smallwood 9, John Rose 12, Andy Smith 2.

SC 11 5 7 15 — 38

GBC 16 24 21 19 — 80

Three-point goals: SC: 3 (Barnes, Ratliff); GBC: 12 (Edwards, Jordan 2, Hairston, Hoskins 2, Smallwood 2, Rose 4). Fouled out: none.

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