Tucker girls roar past Tygarts Valley

HAMBLETON?- Tucker County coach Jimmy Ambrose waited patiently for his team to pick up its play against Tygarts Valley on Wednesday night.

After the Lady Bulldogs fought back to dwindle a once 12-point Lady Mountain Lion lead to just four in the third quarter, the first-year coach resisted the urge to call a timeout.

“My assistant (Dave Helmick) asked me if I wanted to call a timeout and I said no,” Ambrose said. “I wanted to let them play through it, and have a little chat with them between quarters.”

Ambrose’s message must have been clear as No. 5 Tucker County outscored No. 9 Tygarts Valley 24-6 in the fourth quarter en route to a 58-33 Potomac Valley Conference victory.

The win puts the Lady Mountain Lions in prime position to be the top seed in next month’s sectional tournament.

“I told the girls the road to Charleston starts now,” Ambrose said. “If you want to get to the state tournament, (Tygarts Valley) is in the way of that goal.

“We definitely came out in the fourth quarter and played better.”

Shanda Howell kept the Lady Bulldogs in the game. The senior and Davis &?Elkins College recruit scored 22 of her team’s points on the night, and her 3-pointer in the third quarter brought Tygarts Valley to within 31-27.

From that point, however, it was also Tucker County as it scored the final three points of the quarter, and went on a 15-2 run to start the final quarter to build an insurmountable 49-29 lead on a basket by Bekah Simmons.

“Our defense started to swarm in the fourth quarter,” Ambrose said. “I think we wore them down, and we were able to take control.”

Stephanie Betler poured in 20 points and dished out four assists to pace the Lady Mountain Lions. Amber Evans, despite early foul trouble, finished with 12 points, and Savannah Ambrose contributed seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

“With Amber out of the lineup early, Stephanie really stepped up and took over the scoring load for us,” Jimmy Ambrose said.

“She’s the type of player that will do whatever you ask her to do to win games.”

Tucker County (12-4) will host Pendleton County at 7:30 p.m. Friday, while Tygarts Valley (11-5) visits Richwood Saturday in West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament play.