CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With a large portion of its varsity roster sidelined due to contact tracing, Herbert Hoover was already up against it Wednesday against Shady Spring in a Class AAA quarterfinal at the Charleston Coliseum.
That the third-seeded Tigers came out with crisp offensive execution and displayed proficiency from the perimeter didn’t help matters for the sixth-seeded Huskies. Shady Spring made nine triples as part of its 50-point first half and never trailed in a 87-45 victory.
“The way we practice is the way we play,” Tigers’ coach Ronnie Olson said. “These guys share the ball. The right shot is the open shot. They find each other and they don’t complain — they just get it done.”
The Tigers (13-2) advance to face the winner of No. 2 Fairmont Senior/No. 7 Winfield in a semifinal Friday.
The Huskies (13-4) played with three regular varsity starters — Trey Chapman, Eli Robertson and Jack Copehnaver — along with reserve Christian Buckley, who became part of the starting lineup.
Following a Region III co-final win over Westside, the Huskies learned earlier this week a positive covid case associated with the Renegades’ program would force much of their varsity lineup to miss the state quarterfinal.
“We had a meeting yesterday and Trey Chapman said, ‘we’re playing,'” Huskies’ coach Josh Stricker said. “Apparently, we were going to play with him only if they didn’t want to play. But it was a shock on their faces in school. They knew nothing about it. Some of these junior varsity guys were at baseball and hadn’t touched a basketball in three our four weeks. It shows the heart and character they have.”
SSHS made 18-of-38 field goals, including half of its 18 three-point tries through two quarters.
Senior guard Todd Duncan made three triples in the opening quarter and two more in the second, while scoring 19 of the Tigers’ first 33 points.
“The (Beckley) armory gives you almost the same exact look and we play a lot of games there,” Duncan said. “My teammates found me early and once i saw the first one go, I got going from there.”
Cole Chapman added eight points and seven assists in the first half en route to tying former Huntington star and NBA player O.J. Mayo’s Class AAA single-game state tournament assists record with 12.
The Tigers picked up where they left off to start the second half and made 11-of-17 field-goal attempts in the third quarter.
“I know it seems cliche and corny, but the only way you can make a basket is to shoot it,” Olson said. “They all know they have the green light. I don’t have to tell them what’s a good shot or a bad shot — they know.”
Shady Spring ended with 12 three-pointers, 24 assists and only 12 turnovers. The Tigers made 33 field goals in the win.
“When they’re shooting the ball like that, they’re a hard team to beat,” Stricker said. “They drive and kick and penetrates, so went to a 3-2 (zone) to see if we could surprise them at all because in the films we watched, we hadn’t seen anybody playing zone. They got hot. Kudos to coach Olson and his program. They did a good job shooting the ball and speeding us up.”
Duncan led all players with 23 points and added eight steals — finishing one shy of tying the single-game state tournament record in AAA. Cole Chapman scored 14 points, twin brother Braden Chapman added 13 with seven rebounds and Cameron Manns also scored 13 in the win. Jaedan Holstein, the Tigers’ fifth starter, narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
Robertson scored 13 points and Copenhaver added eight points and 14 rebounds in defeat.
The Huskies made half of their 30 two-point attempts, but were 1 of 19 beyond the arc and had 20 turnovers.
The win gave Shady Spring its first state tournament win in program history
”We worked too hard to get here,” Olson said, “for anybody to discredit what we’ve done.”