Determined Effort

MILL CREEK – After seeing a 12-point second-half lead vanish, Tygarts Valley did just enough down the stretch to earn a hard-fought 46-42 win over South Harrison on Friday night.

The Bulldogs, playing their first game since Dec. 28, received free throws from Derrick Villarico and Ben Sycafoose inside of 20 seconds remaining in regulation to seal the win.

The Hawks trailed by 12 in the third quarter and 39-29 after three quarters before cutting the lead to 44-42 on Zak Wentz’s old-fashioned 3-pointer with 31 seconds left.

Villarico’s free throw then made it a three-point cushion.

After Tygarts Valley missed a pair of free throws, South Harrison had a chance to tie the game but Wentz’s trey was off the mark and Sycafoose hit a free throw with just 1.8 seconds left to make it a four-point lead.

“We didn’t have anyone step up after we got the big lead,” Bulldogs coach Tom Wamsley said. “We seemed to quit playing and to (South Harrison’s) credit, they battled all the way back.

“But I also give our kids credit for making the plays to win the game. We had to grind it out to pick up an important victory against a sectional opponent.”

Villarico, playing in his fourth game after being sidelined by a shoulder injury suffered during football season, finished with 18 points to lead the winners. Tyler Shiflett contributed eight points, most of which came by his hustle on the offensive glass.

The Bulldogs (5-2) jumped out to a 3-0 lead before South Harrison answered with 10 straight to open up a 13-7 advantage after one quarter.

The game was tied at 23 at the intermission.

Wentz took game-high scoring honors with 19 points for the Hawks (3-6).

Tygarts Valley will travel to Pocahontas County at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

for a PVC contest.