Tigers trip Bearcats

Logan Phillips fired in 20 points as Elkins used a strong first half to defeat Grafton 64-52 Tuesday night in Big 10 Conference action at Richard P. Simmons Memorial Gymnasium.

The Tigers jumped out to an early 17-7 advantage on a Tyler Shreve jumper with 1:55 left in the first quarter, and went on to build a 19-10 lead after the first quarter.

Elkins (10-5) extended its lead to 21-17 on a Brandon Roth layup with 3:50 left until intermission.

The Bearcats answered back on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit 24-22 on a Alex Gabbert jumper with 1:35 left in the half, but wouldn’t get any closer the remainder the game, as Elkins finished the half on a 5-2 surge to build a 29-24 lead at halftime.

“I thought we had good scoring balance in the first half,” Elkins coach John Lawson said. “We got some good open shots and knocked them down.”

The Tigers’ Braden Hammond hit one of his five 3-pointers of the game to ignite a 16-9 run to start the second half, as Elkins increased the lead to 45-33 with 1:44 left in the third. The margin was 50-37 after three quarters of play.

The Bearcats wouldn’t go away, however, as Gabbert hit a pair of treys in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 56-46 with 4:35 left.

Phillips answered with a jumper that started an 8-6 game-ending run for Elkins.

Hammond followed Phillips in scoring with 15 points, while Brandon Roth chipped in with 12 points for the Tigers. Tyler Shreve added seven points.

“I was happy with the win tonight,” Lawson said. “I thought we got a little too comfortable on defense, but we made some adjustments at halftime.

“Grafton has a good team with some good shooters, and they will be a tough team to beat down the road.”

Joe Christopher had 20 points, while Gabbert finished with 11 for the Bearcats.

Grafton will host Buckhannon-Upshur at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a Big 10 Conference matchup.

Elkins will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a league game, and remain on the road vs. Lewis County on Feb. 5.