Cameron Boys Advance to State for First Time in Program History
CAMERON — The shirts given to the Cameron boys’ basketball team following Wednesday’s W. Va. Class A Region One Co-Final said it all — Cut The Net!
Coach Tom Hart and his Dragons did just that on their home floor after defeating Tyler Consolidated 59-44, punching their first ticket to the state tournament in team history.
“It’s an amazing feeling of pride in this community and in this school right now,” Hart said. “It’s at an all-time high. The girls may be playing for a state championship, the wrestling program was state runner-up and now we punch our first ticket to Charletson. I’m so proud of these guys.”
Brothers Cole Burkett and Logan Burkett led the Dragons with 25 points and 10 points, respectively.
“This is my brother’s last year,” Cole Burkett said. “This is my last year playing with him and we had a talk in the locker room before the game about not leaving anything out there. We have posters in the locker room saying ‘play like it’s your last game’ and we finished the mission.”
Austin Day also chipped in with eight points for Cameron.
Cameron jumped out to a 9-2 advantage but Tyler enjoyed a 10-0 run to follow — securing a 12-9 upperhand.
“We changed up on defense a little bit (Wednesday),” Hart said. “We had to. Tyler made some runs and they were ready to play. Our kids were focused all day and had some good practices this week.”
Tyler’s run was immediately answered by the Dragons, who went on a 10-3 spurt for a 19-15 edge midway through the second quarter.
With the Silver Knights hanging close behind and the first half clock winding down, Logan Burkett heaved the ball from well beyond the 3-point line and hit nothing but net to beat the buzzer — sending the team dashing into the locker room and leaving the fans in a frenzy.
“That was a momentum changer. It really was,” Hart said. “It gave us a little bit of a spark.”
It also gave the Dragons a 31-21 advantage at the break.
Tyler had one more spurt left in the tank in the third quarter when a 7-0 run cut the deficit to 38-30 but a 13-2 outburst by the Dragons early in the fourth put the game out of reach.
Tyler was led by Caleb Strode with 19 points and Trey Landis with nine.
“We knew Tyler was going to make a run,” Hart said. “They made several runs, just like we did. (Coach) Steve (Nutter) does a great job with that program.
“I’m just so happy for these boys, this community and this school. It’s a big time achievement for us. This is 100 years of Cameron basketball and we’re finally going to Charletson.”