Tucker knocks off No. 1 Irish

HAMBLETON- Nathaniel Goldstein’s 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted Class A, No. 3 Tucker County past No. 1 Charleston Catholic 53-50 on Friday night.

“This was a big win for us,” Mountain Lions coach Tom Gutshall said. “Our kids really played hard, especially on defense, and I was proud of their effort.

“To come out and beat the (No. 1) team in the state after losing on Thursday was a credit to our kids.” Tucker County, which lost at Trinity on Thursday, overcame a seven-point deficit in the third quarter to take a 48-47 lead on a Goldstein trey with 2 minutes remaining in regulation.

The Irish tied the game on a free throw from Garet McCarty before Austin Zirk hit two from the charity stripe to give Tucker County the lead again at 50-48.

McCarty once again knotted the score at 50 with two free throws to set up an exiting final minute of regulation.

The Mountain Lions turned the ball over on their ensuing possession but Charleston Catholic missed a jumper in transition.

Tucker County then worked the clock down with Goldstein’s trey from well beyond the arc at the buzzer deciding the outcome.

“It wasn’t the play we drew up but (Goldstein) had to take the shot,” Gutshall said. “We couldn’t get the ball inside when they went to a 2-3 zone.

“Nathaniel hit two big three for us in the fourth quarter.”

Goldstein finished with 15 points on the night to pace the winners, while Ian Nichols added 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Tyler Snyder 12 points.

Tucker County held a slim 13-11 lead after the first quarter before Charleston Catholic used an 8-0 run in the second period to build a 21-19 advantage entering intermission. Each team scored 18 points in the third to set up the exciting conclusion.

McCarty had 17 points and Nick George 15 before fouling out late in the fourth quarter for the Irish, who dropped to 14-2 and will travel to Moorefield today.

Tucker County (14-2) will host Southern (Md.) at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“We need to come out and get ready for Southern on Tuesday,” Gutshall said. “They play tremendous defense and it will be another challenge for our team.”