The Times West Virginian


March 20, 2014

RCB dominant early, late to eliminate East, 65-34

CHARLESTON — The odds were against East Fairmont when it drew top-ranked and unbeaten Robert C. Byrd in the first round of the Class AA state basketball tournament.

And the Bees didn’t make it any easier on themselves in the opening five minutes Wednesday, falling into a 17-3 hole.

An impressive run helped the Bees turn the game back into, well… a game. But another lopsided stretch by the Flying Eagles in the third and fourth quarters quickly ended any threat of an upset, as they went on to beat East Fairmont, 65-34 at the Charleston Civic Center.

Robert C. Byrd (22-0) will advance to play Westside, a 65-58 winner over Bridgeport in Wednesday’s final game.

The wild fluctuations in scoring were a microcosm of how the season has gone for East Fairmont. A five-game losing streak in late January and early February landed the Bees six games below .500. But they rallied toward the end of the season, winning 5-of-7 before Friday to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2001.

“I think it’s a little bit of how our season has been — up and down,” said East Fairmont coach Tyrone Asterino. “I’m still extremely proud of my team and my players. I think we’ve overcome a lot of things just to get to this point.”

The Bees (11-14) settled in during the second part of the season, and likewise, they regained their compose after the early Robert C. Byrd run, scoring eight unanswered points. The 12-2 run continued into the second quarter, and with 5:03 until the half Ian Hayhurst hit a layup to pull the Bees within a bucket at 19-17.

Robert C. Byrd’s dominant big man Justin Noble could only watch from the bench with two fouls as the Bees closed the gap. And shortly thereafter Devonti Birch joined him on the sidelines with foul trouble of his own.

“Once we got Noble in foul trouble it was a lot easier,” said Nick Greely, who scored seven of his nine points in the first half. “He’s a lot bigger than Devonti Birch. Then when he went out, it was even easier.”

East Fairmont went to the half down, 27-19. But in the opening minutes of the third quarter it was clear that things would be much more challenging. Birch returned to score 10 of his 19 points in the second half, and Noble took care of the defense inside.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound forward held Greely to just one basket and one rebound in the final 16 minutes.

Robert C. Byrd coach Bill Bennett praised Greely, saying, “He’s a good player now, but he’s going to be really good. For a young kid, he’s got really good moves in the post.”

But the coach also noted that Birch has shut down “just about everybody that he’s played against this year.”

“When he defends, he takes it personally when someone tries to score,” he said.

The performances from Birch and Noble surely helped to secure the game, but it was Luke Dyers’ performance that clinched it. He scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half to again push the game out of reach.

“The shots that Luke hit in that stretch were crucial,” said Bennett. “They were kind of like nails in the coffin at that point in time.”

The Eagles held the Bees scoreless in the fourth quarter until Ryan Wanstreet hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Bees will graduate seniors David Wadsworth, Colton Toothman (four points), Ronnie Mills (two points) and Ian Hayhurst (two points). But they will return with a number of key pieces, including Myles Johnson (nine points), Brennon Vincent (five points).

“We’ve had a rough season, but it was nice to get down here for the first time for coach,” said Johnson. “Obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”

Email Mike DeFabo at or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

Text Only
  • Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tourney opener

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.

    July 30, 2014

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

  • Scott sees swift title contention for Lakers

    Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
    “This organization is all about championships, period,” Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships. And we know we have some work ahead of us, but I’m excited. ... I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Opinion: People running NCAA may not be bumbling idiots

    Two down, one big one to go.
    And with it a growing realization that maybe the people running the NCAA aren’t the bumbling idiots everyone has been making them out to be.
    The NCAA’s agreement Tuesday to create a $70 million fund to diagnose concussions and brain injuries does more than just give some former and current athletes a bit of peace of mind — if no real money. It also extricates the organization from another serious threat to its existence, one that could have potentially bankrupted it if everyone who ever suffered a concussion playing college sports were somehow able to cash in.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers Camp Footbal_time2.jpg Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.
    Sometimes, one would appear. Sometimes it wouldn’t, mainly because whatever sliver of daylight existed had already been swallowed by darkness while Bell was still trying to read the blocks in front of him.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dungy0725 (1).jpg Rice, Dungy sideshows stain NFL

    The National Football League guards its reputation as aggressively as lineman are paid to protect a quarterback.
    So, as training camp opens around the country, how odd is it to see Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 32-team NFL empire battling bad headlines and stinging criticism from all quarters?
    Anyone want to talk to the new quarterback for his early assessment of playing with the best and biggest players in the land? That would be business as usual. Nothing has been routine about the early days of camp this season.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG DeVaul wraps up final season as Post 17’s leader

    If you were to ask players on Fairmont American Legion Post 17’s roster who they looked up to, you’d find a familiar pattern.
    Sure, you may get some Andrew McCutchens or some Derek Jeters as replies. But if you want to find out the real answer, just look into the dugout.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Photos
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings