CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Robert C. Byrd looked like a team playing for the first time since December 16 for stretches of Wednesday’s matchup against East Hardy in the City Construction Company Hoops Classic.
The Eagles still managed to rely on their defense to stay in control against the Cougars, forcing 21 turnovers and preventing East Hardy from making a 3-pointer in a 46-27 victory.
“We had the bad weather which forced us to cancel a game and then we couldn’t practice because of bad weather and then with a Christmas break, those girls were off for four days. Trying to get things going Monday and Tuesday and still have legs tomorrow, it makes it a little bit difficult,” Eagles’ head coach Robert Shields said. “I’m pleased with how they hustled and they were in the right spots defensively. That’s good and that’s what we need.”
RCB (4-1) limited East Hardy to one field goal over the first 7-plus minutes to build a 9-4 lead after one quarter.
“We never hit shots. To start the game we missed five straight or so and that’s the difference,” East Hardy coach Calvin Mongold said. ”We’re small and only playing six girls so when we get behind, it’s hard.”
The Eagles increased their offensive output in a big way during the second quarter, which began with a Jaden Sturm 3-pointer that allowed for an eight-point advantage.
It was followed by Avery Childers’ mid-range jump shot for the first double-digit lead, and Childers’ conventional three-point play 4:31 before halftime left RCB on top 19-6.
Martina Howe and Sturm added a triple apiece over the remainder of the half, while East Hardy (4-4) was doomed by 13 turnovers through two quarters and went to halftime facing a 29-12 deficit.
“We wanted to change up our defenses because we haven’t had a chance to do anything,” Shields said. “We moved the ball well and had good spacing, but we missed opportunities, which is shaking off the rust. I understand that. But they shared the ball really well and it was good to see Jaden Sturm hit 3s and get off to a good start tonight. Avery is Avery. She’s going to hustle and get points inside.”
The Cougars scored the first three points of the third quarter and were to within 14 on an Emma Heishman jumper, before Childers and teammate Carleigh Curotz scored inside to make it 33-15.
Howe hit her second triple of the contest later in the third and RCB settled for a 39-17 advantage moving to the fourth.
Childers led all players with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Sturm hit three 3s and scored 11, while Howe added six points and five boards. Olivia Lowther led all players with six assists in the victory.
Heishman finished with 10 points and seven rebounds and had five of her team’s 11 field goals, while Chloe Miller had a game-high eight boards.
The result sets up a Thursday matchup for RCB against defending Class A state champion Cameron in the title game of the City Construction Company Hoops Classic.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us inside to see how well we can handle it,” Shields said. “I’m excited to be playing them.”
East Hardy will take on Elkins in the consolation contest first.