Knights Move On To Final

Tyler Consolidated gets past Ritchie Co.

MIDDLEBOURNE — After holding Ritchie County to one point in the first quarter, it seemed like it was going to be smooth sailing for Tyler Consolidated. However, a semifinal matchup between the Silver Knights and Rebels turned into a classic.

Down by as many as 17 points, Ritchie County sparked a comeback in the second half, eventually getting within two. Tyler Consolidated, though, did not break as it made key plays down the stretch to earn a 56-48 victory at Tyler Consolidated High School on Tuesday night.

“Give them credit,” Silver Knights coach Rich Leach said about Ritchie County. “They made four 3s in the second half which adds up. They got close, but we didn’t let them catch up. That was the key to keep the lead. We got guys who are still learning how to win. I can see some things in their eyes, they’re not used to that pressure, but they responded. We kept them at bay and did the things we needed to do.”

The first half of the fourth quarter saw each team alternate baskets on four straight occasions. Clayton Bee of Ritchie County started the quarter off with a 3-pointer to get his team within four, 36-32, but 24 seconds later, Ty West hit his first basket of the quarter to put the lead back up to six. On the ensuing possession for the Rebels, Chase Sullivan hit a shot from behind the arc with 6:52 left to make it 38-35. Mark Rucker responded this time for the Silver Knights as he put in two of his game-high 18 points.

West ended the trade off between teams to put the score at 44-39 with five minutes to go.

Ritchie County got within two, 44-42 with 3:53 remaining after a Tatem McCloy basket. However, the Silver Knights scored five unanswered points that was capped by a Rucker conventional three-point play to put the score at 49-42.

“We started off slow,” Ritchie County coach Chris Wells said. “I think at halftime we shot 3 of 21. When you do that with Tyler, you gonna shoot yourself in the foot. But give my guys credit. They came back in the second half and cut it to two at one point. If we would have played like that in the first half, it may have been a different game. First quarter, we didn’t play well. One point in the first quarter, nobody’s going to win if they got that. But that’s (Tyler) a pretty good team.”

The Silver Knights scored the first two baskets of the second half to go up 28-11 before the Rebels made a run. They tallied 14 of the next 20 points to cut the deficit to single digits. After a Dylan Roberts bucket with 45 seconds remaining in the third, Ritchie County scored the final four points of the quarter including a McCloy put back right before the horn as the score read, 36-29.

“We came out second half going inside, we missed five inside buckets,” Leach said. “That was the key. They were scoring down on the other end, we could of pulled away I think if we made those buckets. But we gave them confidence and it’s a game of confidence.”

Griffin Phillips scored 15 points for the Silver Knights while West netted 14 including eight in the final quarter. Leading the way for the Rebels was Sullivan as he poured in 11 points while Devin Williams and Ryan Morton both had eight.

Tyler Consolidated will play St. Marys for the sectional championship on Friday. The Silver Knights won both meetings during the regular season.

“We’re hoping to just take care of business,” Leach said. “St. Marys is a younger team. They shoot a lot of 3s, so we have to do a better job of defending the 3 and go from there.”