Tucker falters in opening round
CHARLESTON — A second-half comeback effort by Tucker County had the No. 3 Lady Mountain Lions trailing by just two points, 53-51, with less than three minutes to go in an opening round game in the state tournament Wednesday.
The come-from-behind bid was fended off by Class A No. 6 Williamstown, however, who advanced with a 58-51 win.
“We came out flat in the first half, and they (Williamstown) pretty much did what they wanted to,” TCHS coach Jim Ambrose said. “We didn’t guard, and had way too many unforced turnovers. I felt like our opponent out-hustled us in the first half, and that we looked scared. That’s just not us.”
“I mean, I looked up and we were down 51-31 in the third quarter,” Ambrose said. “We called a timeout, and after falling behind by 20, we decided we wanted to play. We went on a 20-2 run, but just couldn’t get over the hump. When you exert that much energy late for a comeback, it’s just hard to pull it off.”
“We had a good year, with 22 wins being the most by a team I have coached. It’s still hard to accept knowing what an opportunity we let slip by us, though,” he said.
Williamstown’s Lady Yellowjackets jumped out to an 18-10 lead after one quarter in the books, and went to the half with a 38-27 advantage. Tucker outscored WHS in the second half, 14-13 in the third quarter and 10-7 in the fourth.
Damning factors for the Mountain Lions included going 11-for-20 at the foul line, and not making any 3-point baskets. Williamstown made 17-of-21 attempts from the charity stripe, and drained 7 shots from behind the arc.
Junior Sydney Nestor paced Tucker County’s scoring with a game-high 20 points to pair up with 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Senior Elizabeth Nichols also reached double figures in 2 separate columns with 10 boards and 10 points, while shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.
Williamstown was led by senior Ashley Morris, who nailed 9-of-10 free throws on her way to 19 in the scoring column.
“”We have everybody back except Elizabeth (Nichols) next year. We just have to work hard in the offseason and come back with more intensity next season,” Ambrose added.