Gutshall gets 500th win

HAMBLETON – Austin Zirk exploded for 21 points Tuesday to secure Tucker County head coach Tom Gutshall’s 500th career victory. The Mountain Lions (14-2) defeated Trinity Christian, 68-51, en route to the team’s eighth straight win.

“It’s nice, but I’m just not that much into individual awards,” Gutshall said. “I just think about all the great kids that I got to coach. It’s amazing how many great athletes come through Tucker County. A lot of places, they have years where they are up and years when they are down. Our kids are consistent. It’s an honor to coach so many great kids. I attribute it to them, because you have got to have good players to win the games.”

Both teams exchanged baskets back and forth in the first half, with Tucker County holding a 34-30 lead at intermission. However, the Mountain Lions’ defense came alive in the second half, holding Trinity to 11 points in the third quarter and 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“In the first half, we didn’t play defense,” Gutshall said. “We turned the intensity up in the second half, but we’re going to have to start playing more consistent. I’m not making any excuses, but when you only play one game a week it’s tough to get into a rhythm. We’ve got four games set over a six-day stretch, so we’re going to get tested real quick.”

Ian Nichols scored 17 points and Mitchell Mason added 11 points for TCHS.

Three players reached double digits in scoring for the Warriors. Christian Hawkinberry paced the offense with 16 points. Roger Scott and Matthew Dlugos scored 13 points each.

Tucker County will travel to Charleston Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Friday.