Turning it on
ELKINS – After trailing in the first quarter, the Elkins Tigers came alive in the second and dispatched sectional rival Hampshire by a score of 77-50 Friday night at Richard P. Simmons Memorial Gymnasium to continue their undefeated start to the season.
Logan Phillips started the game with a layup 30 seconds in but then a trey by Hampshire’s Dane Heavener gave the Trojans a 5-2 lead. The visitors would eventually push their advantage to seven.
Elkins (3-0) managed to keep within three to five points with driving layups by Tyler Shreve, and closed the gap to two on an off-balance, one-handed shot by Kollin Hopwood at the first-quarter buzzer.
Throughout this time, the visitors were breaking Elkins’ full-court press with ease and winning the battle of the boards, but the Tigers hustled and stayed within striking distance.
Finally, the hustle paid off and Elkins took the lead back when Phillips hit a jumper at 4:57 of the second quarter to make it 22-21.
Good passing led to a wide-open three attempt by Braden Hammond and he nailed it to give the hosts a 25 -21 advantage and the Tigers never looked back from there.
Elkins started to play more aggressively and physically from that point and Hampshire started to get sloppy with its ball-handling and shot selection.
Another Hammond three-ball, this one from way behind the arc, gave Elkins a 10-point lead at 33-23. That score held entering the break.
Elkins continued to pour it on when the teams went back on the floor after intermission.
The lead extended out to 15 points before a short run, highlighted by Heavener’s trey, brought the visitors back to within 11 points, but that turned out to be the Trojans’ last gasp.
The Tigers’ lead swelled above 20 at the 6:10 mark at 61-40 on another three by Hammond, and the wheels just fell off for Hampshire.
The Trojans’ full-court press was ineffective on defense and suffered a rash of turnovers on offense.
With 11.4 seconds remaining, reserve Trevor Kiess sank two foul shots to give Elkins its largest lead at 77-47. Hampshire hit a meaningless three at the buzzer for the 77-50 final.
Phillips again led the scoring column for the Tigers. The senior finished with 24 points and pulled down nine boards.
Hammond followed with 15 points, all scored from behind the arc, Morgan Kelly was next with 11, and Colby Gainer had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Travis Clower and Heavener scored 20 and 18 points, respectively, for the Trojans.
“Well, it was a pretty good performance,” Elkins coach John Lawson said. “We started slow and they were taking it to us, but then in the second quarter we decided we were not going to let them keep doing that. We started to attack on offense and manned up defensively.
“The crowd helped us out tonight too. It was a great crowd and the student section was wonderful.”
Hampshire coach Luke Samples said only, “A 30 point loss, what can I say? They’re just better than we are.”
The Tigers will host the Elkins Holiday Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Elkins will meet Tygarts Valley at 7:45 p.m. on the first night and Tucker County at 7:45 p.m. on the second evening.
The Trojans (1-2) will host their tournament starting on Friday.