NEW MARTINSVILLE - After suffering through the initial eight minutes of play Saturday afternoon against Weir, Ritchie County probably could not have put together three more solid quarters of basketball if it had to.
Coach Rick Haught's Rebels turned the ball over just four times in the final 24 minutes, after committing six mistakes in the first period, while also burying 11 3-pointers and holding off Coach Mike Granato's Red Riders down the stretch.
Junior Daniel Burgess dumped in a game-high 30 points, including five bonus bombs, while Paige Haught and Justin Sage combined to contribute 29 as Ritchie County escaped with a hard-fought 70-66 victory against Weir in the Region One "AA" Rotary Challenge at Magnolia High School.
With Michael Drizake hitting two of his five 3-pointers in the opening quarter, the Riders (4-11) led 13-3 at one point and 16-9 heading into what both coaches described as the ''deciding factor.''
The Rebels collected six treys in the quarter, with Burgess hitting three of them, and did not turn the ball over in closing on an 11-2 burst and taking a 32-27 upper hand to the half.
Weir regained the lead in the third on three separate occasions, however, Ritchie managed to get it back at 49-46 heading to the fourth.
Granato's bunch stayed close most of the way, but never took the lead back. Trailing 65-64, Burgess nailed a hoop and Sage added a pair of free throws for a four-point advantage. Haught capped the scoring with a pair of free throws with just more than a second showing.
''That game was a picture of how our season has gone,'' the veteran Weir coach said. ''When we play good on offense our defense is off and visa-versa. (Saturday), we had no answer for the offense.
''It was really a game of runs and the reality of it all is that they had one more run in them than we did. But give them credit, they had open shots and they knocked them down.
''We lost momentum in that second quarter, but our kids did a good job fighting back also.''
Harley Mills capped a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds in a losing effort while Drizake added 17 and James Carnes 10.