Foul trouble plagues Cavs in quarterfinal loss (With Gallery)

Greenbrier West Chase McClung, right, and Bailey Thompson, of Pendleton County, dive after a loose ball during the state quarter-final Class A game held at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center Tuesday morning. West lost 59-45.(Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

CHARLESTON — Greenbrier West entered Tuesday morning's Class A quarterfinal searching for the program's first state tournament win in 29 years.

That search will continue.

Pendleton County held the Cavaliers to 15 points in the second half — four in the final quarter — to advance to the Class A semifinals with a 59-45 in the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

Foul trouble plagued the Cavs all morning as Pendleton enjoyed the bonus for most of the second quarter and eventually forced West star Kaiden Pack to foul out with over six minutes left in the game.

"Kaiden plays, I think he averages about 31 minutes in the games where we're not well ahead," West head coach Jared Robertson said. "I'm going to take responsibility for that. When he got his third foul I probably should've bought a minute or two and got him out then. I felt like the game was turning a little. But he usually plays pretty smart and he's played in foul trouble before without having what did today.

"I think it's unfortunate that in a physical man-to-man game like that the best player on the floor has five fouls and their team's never in the bonus in the second half. As a coach that's frustrating to look up and see that. His charge call, his last call, I thought was very iffy, but give them credit. They knew he had four and tried to get that fifth foul."

Early it looked like the 2021 state tournament was on track to open with a classic. The score was tied nine times in the first half with eight lead changes. 

Pendleton added some breathing room early in the second quarter, going up 21-15, but West responded with a 13-4 run on the backs of Pack and Brandon Oscar to take the lead at 28-25. Pendleton eventually retook the lead with eight seconds left, but Pack's driving, fading floater fell before the buzzer sounded to give West a 30-29 advantage at the break.

As successful as the first half was, the Cavs struggled from beyond the arc, nailing just one of their nine 3-point attempts.

"We had one stretch early in the second quarter where we got frustrated and got out of our offense a little bit," Robertson said. "I thought we'd run a set and if we didn't get a shot there was a little bit of panic mode and we'd shoot a quick 3. Offensively for us we don't rely on the 3 like some teams, but we need to make 3s and one-for-nine, it's tough.

"Because normally for (Pack, Oscar and Chase Boggs) all three of them can make that shot, but it was just one of those days where if one of them gets hot we might be sitting here with a little bigger smile on our face."

West (11-8) expanded its lead to three out of the break, but an immediate 7-0 run for Pendleton gave the Wildcats the lead for good. Part of Pendleton's success in the second half was its ability to rebound on the offensive glass and capitalize. Both teams hauled in 13 offensive rebounds, but Pendleton scored 15 points on those opportunities compared to the five West managed.

"I'll be honest and tell you I think the style that Greenbrier West plays isn't really focused on going and hitting somebody and going," Pendleton County head coach Ryan Lambert said. "They're more worried about a distant kind of game. We saw that on film and that's not saying one negative thing about Greenbrier West. We respect the heck out of them, but we saw that there were some opportunities on the offensive glass early on and these guys will tell you we really saw that as an opportunity. I asked for it and they executed."

West trailed 47-41 entering the final frame, but with Pack fouling out early in the quarter the Cavs were unable to find points on offense. Pendleton took advantage, continuously feeding its post, Josh Alt, who finished with a game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds. He converted on 11 of his 12 free throw attempts. 

"I just knew that if we played well and did the stuff coach asked from us — play hard on defense and move the ball around on offense and look for good looks in the zone," Alt continued "I knew that there'd be opportunities to try and get the ball in the basket. But I didn't wake up thinking I'd score this much. I just knew the game plan and whatever happened, happened."

Pack was the only player for West in double figures with 11.

Pendleton (16-0), which extended its winning streak to 39 games, will play the Tug Valley Thursday at 11:15 a.m. The Panthers defeated Cameron 69-55 on Tuesday.

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Greenbrier West (11-8)

Kaiden Pack 11, Chase McClung 6, Brandon Oscar 8, Chase Boggs 8, Lawson Vaughan 4, Logan Shrewberry 6, Gabe Medlin 2

Pendleton County (16-0)

Tanner Townsend 8, Bailey Thompson 13, Isaiah Gardiner 5, Taylor Wilmer 4, Josh Alt 25, Braden McClanahan 2, Cole Day 2

GW: 15 15 11 4 — 45

PC: 15 14 18 12 — 59

3-point goals — GW: 2 (Shrewsberry 2); PC: 1 (Townsend). Fouled Out — GW: Pack

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