MILL CREEK - Tygarts Valley and Harman split a pair of games Wednesday evening in a doubleheader of Randolph County squads.
In the girls game, the Bulldogs beat an overmatched Panthers squad, 56-15, while the Harman boys claimed a 50-33 victory in the second game.
It figured to a tough outing for the Harman girls in their game against the Tygarts Valley with only seven players on the roster, but a sloppy start for both teams kept scoring at a minimum in the beginning.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Steve Swick
Harman’s Joshua Shiflett looks for an open player to pass to against Tygarts Valley Wednesday night in Mill Creek. The Panthers won the game, 50-33.
Midway through the first quarter though, the home team started to find its rhythm and focus and they never looked back.
The score after the first stanza stood at 18-0. In fact, Harman didn't score its first points until Alexis Cooper hit a jumper with two minutes remaining before halftime.
Meanwhile, the Tygarts Valley girls crashed the boards on offense, getting two, three or more shots per possession on offense, and either forced a bad shot or stole the ball on defense.
The result was a dominating 40-3 advantage at intermission.
In the second half, the Bulldogs slowed down their assault, but still outscored Harman 9-6 in the third quarter and 7-6 in the fourth.
Harman coach Fred Davis said his team is going through growing pains.
"It's tough because we only have seven girls and only one is a senior," he said. "We have to play two freshmen and we tell (the team) to just go do your best and have some fun out there."
Even with the lopsided score, TVHS coach Mike DiPasquale lauded the visitors' hustle, saying, "Those Harman girls never took a possession off."
On his own team, DiPasquale said, "We played really well in spurts, but when you look at the entire game we didn't play that well. There were several times we took a possession off; we need to get that fixed before we play Tucker County."
Paige Pritt was game-high for Tygarts Valley with 16 points. Kelsey Wyss and Makayla Harris each chipped in eight apiece. Reserve Sierra Toney put up nine points.
Three players had double-digit rebounds; Harris led with 15 caroms and had five assists, Emily Pingley pulled down 13 boards to go along with four steals, and Pritt finished with 11 rebounds.
For Harman, Cooper led with seven points and Catlyn Bennett added six points.
The Bulldogs, now 3-0 on the season, travel to Tucker County at 7:30 p.m. today. The Harman girls also play this evening when they host Pendleton County at 7:30 p.m.
This was the last home game for the Tygarts Valley girls until Jan. 9 when they play East Hardy.
In the nightcap, Harman's Casey Elza started things off with a three-ball and the Panthers darted out to a 6-1 lead in the season-opener for both squads.
Tygarts Valley clawed back to tie the contest at 6-6 with four minutes left in the first quarter and took a 7-6 lead one minute later.
That wound up being the only lead of the night for the host team however, and the closest they would come after that was the 12-11 deficit at the end of the first.
The Panthers started the second stanza on an 8-0 run and had their first double-digit lead at the 4:45 mark when the scoreboard read 22-12. During that stretch, Elza came up with a couple of blocked shots and the visitors started hitting the boards harder than TV.
The Bulldogs closed to within eight points at the half at 23-15 and cut the Harman advantage to five at 27-22 when Jace Kyle hit a three-pointer with 5:20 remaining in the third, but Harman's Chris Alt answered right back with a three and soon after the lead was back to 10 points.
Using their rebounding advantage and superior frontline play, Harman pushed the lead out to 17 points at the end of the third period, 41-24.
Tygarts Valley twice fought back to within 13 points in the final stanza but never seriously threatened.
Two successive layups by the Panthers with a minute to go gave them their largest lead at 50-31 before the final of 50-33.
Davis, also the coach of the Harman boys, said, "This was a great start to our season, it was a good team effort all around, and our big men rebounded well. I'm very pleased."
Elza had 16 points and 16 rebounds to lead the winners. Joshua Shiflett added 16 and Michael Judy eight.
Ben Sycafoose had 10 points, and Jace Kyle and Caleb Riggleman seven each for the Bulldogs.
Tygarts Valley will travel to Highland County, Va., on Monday, while Harman will begin play in the Union tournament on Friday.