CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Pendleton County’s inside play was thought to provide the Wildcats with an advantage on the interior against a smaller Greenbrier West team ahead of Tuesday’s Class A quarterfinal at the Charleston Coliseum.
Six-foot-3 senior Josh Alt made sure that was indeed the case.
Alt finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds and the third-seeded Wildcats knocked off the sixth-seeded Cavaliers 59-45 for their 39th consecutive win dating back to the start of last season.
Pendleton County (16-0) attempted only five three-pointers among its 44 shots and advances to face No. 2 Tug Valley in a semifinal Thursday.
“We stress we don’t want a good shot — we want a better shot,” PCHS coach Ryan Lambert said. “The good one can be there because the defense will give it to you. We don’t necessarily want that shot.”
Trailing 30-29 at halftime, the Wildcats began to take control in the third quarter. They went ahead for good with a 7-0 run after falling behind by three early in the third quarter, first pulling equal on a Tanner Townsend three-pointer and then getting two straight baskets from Alt.
Alt finished with 10 points in the third, including the last two of Pendleton’s seven field goals in the period that sent the Wildcats into the fourth with a 47-41 advantage.
“If we did the stuff that coach asked from us, played hard on defense and moved the ball around against the zone, I knew there’d be opportunities to get the ball in the basket,” Alt said. “I didn’t wake up thinking I’d score this much. I just tried to follow the game plan and whatever happened, happened.”
The Cavaliers’ chances to rally took a big hit when leading scorer Kaiden Pack fouled out on a charge with PCHS ahead 49-41 at the 6:52 mark.
Greenbrier West (11-7) made only one field goal the rest of the way — a Chase McClung jump shot with 43 seconds left.
“They’re a great defensive team,” Cavaliers’ coach Jared Robertson said. “Nobody has scored fifty points against them and unfortunately we didn’t either.”
The Cavaliers finished 1-of-13 shooting in the final period and 5 of 25 in the second half, while scoring 15 points over the final two quarters.
“The second half effort was monstrous,” Lambert said. “We pride ourselves on defense. We held them to fifteen points in the second half and four points in the fourth quarter, which I think was the difference.”
At 21-15, the Wildcats’ six-point advantage 1:02 into the second quarter was the largest lead for either team in the opening half.
But Brandon Oscar and Pack combined for 15 points over the remainder of the half, and Pack’s layup just before the buzzer allowed GWHS to lead by one at the break.
Alt made 7-of-14 field goals and 11-of-12 free throws, while adding three steals and a pair of blocks.
“Josh Alt had a big game for us,” Lambert said. “The difference with our guys and they know — Josh’s success is our success. It’s not a one-man show.”
Fellow 6-3 senior Bailey Thompson was instrumental in the victory with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds.
Pack led the Cavaliers with 11 points, but missed all five of his threes — a theme for GWHS, which made only 2-of-15 triples.
“We need to make threes,” Robertson said. “It was one of those days if someone gets hot, we may be sitting here with a bigger smile on our face.”
Lawson Vaughan and McClung had eight rebounds apiece in defeat. Still, the Wildcats out-rebounded the Cavaliers 38-28 and had a 15-5 advantage on second-chance points.
“The style Greenbrier West plays isn’t worried about going and hitting somebody. It’s not a knock on them, but they prefer to get up and down,” Lambert said. “Our brand is the opposite. We saw on film that there were opportunities on the offensive glass.”