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St. Albans downs Beckley to win first regional title in 16 years, 68-53

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Rodney Toler scored a game-best 21 points and Ethan Clay added 20 more as St. Albans claimed their first regional title since 2004 with a 68-53 win at Woodrow Wilson.

The Red Dragons (17-8) will be the No. 8 seed in the Class AAA tournament and will face top seed and defending champion University Wednesday, March 18 at 7:15 p.m.

“It has been a dream of mine as a coach for years,” said St. Albans head coach Bryan England. “Our staff and these kids started believing. They believed and they knew they could get it accomplished. They went out and executed and got the job done.”

The Red Dragons led nearly wire-to-wire. St. Albans closed the first quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 16-9 lead at the end of the frame. Toler had the last five points of the quarter. The Dragons kept that nine-point lead into halftime at 26-17.

Beckley crept within six points midway through the third quarter but St. Albans led by double digits throughout the fourth quarter, pulling away to win by fifteen.

The Red Dragons held Woodrow Wilson (17-8) to their lowest point total of the season and avenged a 73-61 loss on January 21st. They held Beckley’s leading scorer Richard Law to just two points.

“The first time we played Woodrow Wilson, Richard had 30 and he had a great game. One of our game plans was to lock in to him and play team ball and defend the post.”

Jaimelle Claytor added a dozen points for the Red Dragons. Ben Gilliam and Ayden Ince each scored 17 points for Beckley.

“This has been a long time coming at St. Albans. We are going to get to do something we haven’t done in a long time. So we are very thankful.”

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