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Mountain Lions battle top-seed Man tonight

Pendleton County puts 38-game win streak on the line against Greenbrier West in quarterfinal play

The Inter-Mountain file photo Tucker County coach Daniel Helmick, right, talks with his team during a recent game against Tygarts Valley. The Mountain Lions face Man today in state tourney play.

CHARLESTON — Tucker County returns to the state tournament for the first time in five years this evening with a Class A quarterfinal matchup against top-seed Man at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center.

Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.

The Mountain Lions (12-5) secured a state berth by defeating Tygarts Valley last Wednesday in a co-regional final action.

While his squad lacks experience playing in Charleston, Tucker County head coach Daniel Helmick played in four state tourneys during his Mountain Lion playing career.

Senior forward Zack Colebank tops Tucker County in scoring with 17 points per game. He is joined in the probable starting lineup by senior guard Gus Mullennex, freshman forward Ashton Lycliter, freshman guard Maddox Anderson and sophomore forward-guard Trenton Wilfong.

Lycliter and Wilfong average 8.0 points per game, while Anderson is hitting for 7.0 ppg. and Mullennex is 6.0 ppg.

Junior swingman Zach Long and sophomore guard Daniel Bennett are the first players off the bench.

The Hillbillies (13-2) counter with 6-foot-7 junior Austin Ball, who is averaging 19.5 ppg. Junior guard Caleb Blevins chips in 15.1 points per outing and senior point guard Peyton Adams adds 10.7 ppg.

Third-seed Pendleton County, meanwhile, puts its 38-game winning streak on the line when it battles No. 6 Greenbrier West in today’s first game of the tourney at 9:30 a.m.

Like Tucker County, Wildcats coach Ryan Lambert played in the state tournament during his playing days at Petersburg High School.

Pendleton County enters the contest with a 15-0 record. The Wildcats went 23-0 last season but the state tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19.

A balanced-scoring attack and stingy defense spark Pendleton County.

Junior forward Cole Day had 18 points off the bench in the Wildcats’ co-regional final win over East Hardy, while senior guard Bailey Thompson added 12 junior and junior forward Braden McClanahan netted 10 in a reserve role.

Junior guard Tanner Townsend, senior guards Isaiah Gardiner and Taylor Wimer and senior forward Josh Alt join Thompson in the probable starting five.

Senior guard Kaiden Pack tops Greenrbrier West (11-7) in scoring at 21 ppg. Frontcourt mates Chase Boggs and Brandon Oscar is averaging 12.6 and 10.9 points per outing, respectively.

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