CHARLESTON, W.Va. – No. 4 Robert C. Byrd opened the second half on an 18-5 run and defeated fifth-seeded Tolsia 51-44 in the Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday night.
“We are happy to get the win, even though we know we could play better,” Robert C. Byrd coach Bill Bennett said. “We are just happy to be advancing to play on Friday night.”
In the semifinals, RBC (19-6) will get another shot at Bluefield, which won this season’s earlier matchup 72-56.
With the Eagles clinging to a 21-19 halftime lead, they flew out of the gates in the third quarter forcing 12 turnovers and building a 15-point lead. Tolsia only got within four because of its inability to hit free throws down the stretch, going 7-of-16 in the last four minutes of the game.
“We knew we were going to have to match their up-tempo pace, coming down from Class AAA. That’s what teams like to run, and we aren’t used to that,” Tolsia coach Jason Hatfield said. “I think we just took the wrong time to play the worst three quarters of the season. Credit our kids though; they fought back and made it a game.”
After Devonti Birch missed two free throws with 37 seconds left, Tolsia came down and sunk two of its own cutting the lead to 48-44. After a deflection on the inbounds pass led to a scramble, the ball landed in Luke Dyer’s hands and the RBC freshmamn was fouled before sinking free throws to make the lead six.
“The freshman (Dyer) stepped up and hit two big shots after we cut it to four,” Hatfield said. “Even at that point we thought we had a shot to come back. The kids kept thinking up ways to get the lead in the huddles.”
Robert C. Byrd was led by Birch’s 13 points and eight rebounds, to go along with six steals.
“I just try to go out and hustle out there,” Birch said. “Some people don’t see the plays coming out there like I do.”
Nick Dyer chipped in 12 points and his freshman brother Luke added 10 in the win.
Tolsia (17-9) was paced by Terry Davis’ 20 points on 7-of-14 from the field. “I just wanted to go out there and get this win,” he said. “I didn’t care how many points I scored.”
Austin Brewer put in seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds.