Cruise Control

PHILIPPI -Philip Barbour coach Heather Halfin knows her team better than anyone.

So when the heavily-favored Colts fell behind Liberty in the first game of Tuesday night’s Class AA, Region II, Section 2 opener, Halfin remained cool and confident.

“This is one of the few teams I’ve coached where I don’t worry too much (when we get behind),” she said. “We’ve been a team that has started slow all season and finished strong.

“As long as we win, I?can deal with that but it would be great to get off to better starts.”

The Mountaineers, who defeated Lincoln in Tuesday’s first game to advance to face Philip Barbour, reeled off four straight points in the opener before the hosts responded to tie the game at 5-all.

Liberty again went on a 4-1 surge to make it 9-6 but the Colts then took control, eventually taking a 25-15 victory.

Philip Barbour dominated the next two matches by scores of 25-11 and 25-3 to advance to face Robert C. Byrd at 6 p.m. Thursday at home for the sectional title. The Eagles defeated Bridgeport on Tuesday to move on.

The Colts (47-5-3) were led by Shelby Daugherty with 25 points, three ace serves, eight blocks and 12 assists, while Nikki Shriver tallied eight points, nine kills and four aces, Hannah Stewart eight points, 16 digs and two aces, Haley Stewart and Karlie Smallwood five kills each, Smallwood three blocks and Morgan Stemler 10 assists.

Philip Barbour and RCB will both advance to regional competition at 2 p.m. Saturday at RCB. Thursday’s victor will face the section 1 runner-up, while the loser will meet the section 1 champion.