Tyler Claims Sectional Crown
Title is first for Silver Knights in 11 years
MIDDLEBOURNE — Going into the season, one of Tyler Consolidated’s goals was to claim a sectional championship.
Friday night, the Silver Knights achieved that during the West Virginia Class A Region One Section Two championship against St. Marys. The Silver Knights were up by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but held off a comeback by a young Blue Devils team in a 56-51 victory.
It is Tyler Consolidated’s first sectional title in 11 years.
“That was our main goal was to bring the winning attitude back to Tyler Consolidated,” Silver Knights coach Rick Leach said. “We’ve had that goal all year long and I think we made it bigger than what it was supposed to be. We didn’t play very well in the first half. We fumbled the ball. I think we were trying too hard and didn’t take care of the ball like we normally do. It was frustrating, really we were up seven at halftime and I felt like we were down. Give St. Marys credit. They outscrapped us and Coach (Mark) Barnhart had them ready. They played hard.”
Tyler Consolidated showed its balance on the offense attack as four players scored in double figures. Dylan Roberts led the way with a game-high 14 points. He cashed in on a 3-pointer under 10 seconds after tipoff. Mark Rucker came off the bench and had another solid outing with 13 points while Tyler West netted 12 including 10 in the first half.
Griffin Phillips rounded out the Silver Knights’ double-figure scoring with 11, seven of which came in the final quarter. He also went 7 of 10 from the free-throw line.
“We have our leading scorer average-wise as Phillips,” Leach said. “But we have West, we have Rucker and Roberts are all averaging 10 points, nine points a game. So every single one of them has led us in scoring in a game this year. They’re all capable of scoring and that’s what I like. They can’t key on one person because we have other guys that can score.”
And Tyler Consolidated was showing it could score early in the fourth. After St. Marys’ Richard Dornon hit a pair of free throws to make it 34-29, the Silver Knights went on a 9-0 run to boast a 43-29 lead with 3:33 left in the contest.
The Blue Devils were not ready to throw in the towel. William Steele hit a shot that sparked a small 6-0 spurt to cut the St. Marys’ deficit to 43-35. Throughout the final three minutes of the game, the two teams were trading buckets, but St. Marys found itself still within striking distance. Evan Lamp cashed in on his third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter to put the score at 52-47 with 51 seconds left. After Roberts went 1 of 2 from the foul line, Lamp tried to hit another long range ball, but was fouled. He he went 2 of 3 from the line closing the gap to four, 53-49 with just under 35 seconds remaining.
It was as close as the Blue Devils got as the Silver Knights were able to hit a couple free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach.
“I thought our tempo control was real good for three quarters, maybe an early fourth,” Barnhart said. “Then the deficit was so much we knew we eventually had to come out and we did. That’s what kind of ran it into the 50’s. We felt like our only chance was keeping it in the 40’s. We were basically on par for that, the only problem was we didn’t score enough. And that’s why we had to come out and that’s what bumped it out into the 50’s.
“But they’re so darn athletic and physical that as the game wore on, I thought they physically wore us out. There were a couple of plays we might of made earlier in the game, but later in the game, the athletes just took over.”
Lamp and Cameron Miller both compiled 12 points for the Blue Devils. All 12 of Lamp’s points came in the fourth quarter. William Steele was also solid as he netted 10 points.
Tyler Consolidated will face off against Cameron with a trip to Charleston on the line. The two teams met twice during the regular season and spilt as both team’s won on the other’s home court. Tipoff is Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. at Tyler Consolidated High School. St. Marys will face off against Wheeling Central.