The Yellow Jackets swarmed into the Baker Den edging East Hardy 49-48 in a ferocious battle during the Class A Region II Section 2 Boys Basketball semifinal last Tuesday.
“We knew this was going to be the game. We knew they played hard and we play hard. We knew it was going to be a scrappy game. We’ve been talking all year that it all comes down to one stop and getting one rebound. During those timeouts, that is what I told them: one stop, one rebound and we win the game. They played with a lot of heart. We’re playing injured, playing tired and they just played with heart and that’s what they have been doing all year. I am real proud of them,” Moorefield Boys Basketball coach Scott Stutler remarked.
The Cougars (12-12) started the game with a walk, then a trap turned into a foul before Dawson Price blocked a shot by Moorefield (11-13).
After a foul on Moorefield, Thomas Williams grabbed a defensive rebound and passed to Chase Vance who was called for a walk.
There was a jump ball in favor of the Yellow Jackets and Williams assisted Vance on a 3-pointer at the 6:21 mark for the initial lead.
Moorefield’s Jaydon See and Trevor Shoemaker forced a turnover and the Cougars were called for a foul moments later.
Williams dished inside the paint to Shoemaker for a basket at the 5:49 mark boosting the lead, 5-nil.
Vance collected a defensive board and found Williams for a 3-pointer at the 5:13 mark.
East Hardy created an opening for Justin Teets to drill a perimeter bucket at the 5:01 mark to cut into the deficit 8-3.
Teets swiped the ball and fed Seth Smith for a trifecta at 4:33 for an 8-6 score.
In just 15 seconds, Moorefield answered with a jumper by Jaydon See.
Teets and Shoemaker traded layups over the next two series as the Yellow Jackets held a 12-8 lead with 3:49 left in the first period.
Both teams missed field goals twice over the next minute of play and the Cougars hit the rim on free throws too with three rebounds by Moorefield’s Shoemaker and one rebound each by East Hardy’s Adam Baker and Christian Dove.
The last rebound by Shoemaker setup a field goal by Vance at 2:37, 14-8.
The Cougars closed out the first period on an 8-nil run as Andrew Tharp sandwiched two jumpers around a defensive rebound collected to make it 14-12 at 1:57.
Tharp stole the ball and missed the ensuing layup with the carom going to Shoemaker with a foul by the Cougars.
Dove stole the ball and passed to Price, who completed an old-fashioned three-point play giving East Hardy a 15-14 edge with 42 seconds on the clock.
Baker blocked a shot, then Smith stole the ball and the possession was kept alive with rebounds by Price and Smith.
The latter rebound resulted in a foul by the Yellow Jackets sending Smith to the line making both free throws with 11 seconds to go, 17-14.
Moorefield lost the ball and the Cougars missed the long distance buzzer shot.
Starting the second period, Price snatched a defensive board and East Hardy hit the rim with Brent Moran hauling in the Yellow Jackets rebound.
See garnered an offensive rebound and was fouled, then Williams assisted Coleman Mongold for a game-tying 3-pointer at the 6:41 mark.
About two minutes later after a couple of missed shots in both directions and turnovers, East Hardy’s Andrew Tharp connected on a jumper for a 19-17 edge.
Over the next two minutes and change, Moorefield hit the rim five times and the Cougars missed twice with a pair of turnovers coming before Vance netted a basket at the 2:21 mark for the Yellow Jackets to tie the game again, 19-all.
Vance swiped the ball, but it was taken back by Bryce Tharp and Dove during a trap leading to a layup by Dove as the Cougars regained the lead at 1:45.
Shoemaker plowed into Bryce Tharp with a defensive foul assessed and one free throw was added.
Dove tried to corral the rebound and the ball was snatched away by Moorefield’s Jaydon See with a pass to the perimeter for Williams draining a trey at the 1:26 mark as the Yellow Jackets went back on top 23-21.
Shoemaker stole the ball and the ensuing shot hit the rim with the rebound and putback made by Mongold extending the lead 25-21 at 1:03.
Teets hit a long range jumper for the Cougars in the final minute and both teams missed a shots as Moorefield carried a 25-23 edge into halftime.
In the opening minute and a half of the third period, Moorefield’s Trevor Shoemaker was scored three field goals.
See assisted Shoemaker on the first jumper of the frame at 7:43, then the Cougars answered with a basket by Bryce Tharp off an assist by Smith.
Williams found Shoemaker for a bucket at 7:01 and East Hardy walked on the next series with Shoemaker swooping in for a layup moments later to extend the lead to 31-25 at 6:31.
The Cougars had a shot go awry with a scramble after the loose ball.
Moorefield’s Williams try to corral it initially only to fumble it diving to the floor, then East Hardy’s Dove and Moorefield’s Shoemaker battled for the ball rolling over each other with Shoemaker screaming in pain as the ball ricocheted into the hands of Bryce Tharp.
Shoemaker went to the sidelines with an injury, then Baker scored for the Cougars at 6:10.
“The last eight games, Shoemaker has played phenomenal for us. He started to come on and take that game over, then he got injured. We’re hoping he will be back for our next game,” Coach Stutler said.
Tharp block a shot and collected an offensive rebound before creating an old-fashioned three-point play pulling East Hardy within one marker, 31-30 at the 5:40 mark.
Dove stole the ball and scored to put the Cougars ahead.
Smith notched another steal and drilled a 3-pointer as East Hardy went up 35-31 with 4:56 remaining in the third period.
After a miss by the Yellow Jackets, a jump
ball went to East Hardy and Dawson Price garnered a bucket at the 4:20 mark.
Moorefield responded with a jumper by Vance at the 3:45 mark to close the gap 37-33.
Williams snatched a defensive rebound and passed to Mongold, who was caught in a trap managing to squeeze a pass off to See, who spun around under the hoop drawing a foul.
See collected an offensive rebound, but was whistled for a foul in the process.
Moran intercepted a pass, but the Yellow Jackets missed the next four field goals with rebounds going to See, Vance (two) and Price.
East Hardy’s Andrew Tharp assisted his brother Bryce on a jumper during the next possession for a 39-33 lead with 2:07 left in the third stanza.
The Tharp brothers joined together to force a turnover, but no points came off of it.
Vance hauled in the rebound, then Williams located Mongold for a 3-pointer as the Yellow Jackets sliced the deficit to 39-36 at 1:26.
Both teams hit the rim, then Andrew Tharp stole the ball and fed Smith as the Cougars took a 41-36 lead.
See kept the following series alive for Moorefield with two rebounds before Moran knocked down a 3-pointer with three seconds on the clock for a 41-39 score.
“There wasn’t much flow to the game. There was a lot of defense happening out there. Their half-court defense gave us fits and our three-quarter and full-court defense gave them fits. It was a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity from both teams. That was East Hardy and Moorefield, when we call it the good ole days, that’s what it used to look like here. This place is packed and it was back and forth. You have five chances to score in under 20 seconds and can’t make a shot and that was the difference in the game,” East Hardy Boys Basketball coach Chris Hahn stated.
“That atmosphere was a little overwhelming, I think both teams got a little out of sorts on offense because it was so crazy. It was definitely our best crowd of the season and probably the loudest game Moorefield has played in all year. Our kids were into the game and it gave us a lot of energy. We would have liked to pull it out for them, but it is what it is. Effort-wise was through the roof for both teams. They left it all out there and we left it all out there and somebody had to win. Unfortunately for us, it was them. [Final shot] We were there and got the look we wanted, but we hesitated. We wanted the ball to come to the short corner there and it a look close, but they ran us off our spot. Christian shot a hard three on this right side and it just didn’t fall. Moorefield did a great job rebounding and they out-worked us all night. It took a bounce their way and it had taken a bounce our way, we could have finished on a buzzer beater. It bounced their way and we go home.”
The Yellow Jackets missed two field goals to commence the final frame with rebounds collected by See and Price, with the latter leading to a Cougars bucket by Price at 7:22.
Vance nailed a shot in the paint over two defenders at the 7:06 mark as the Yellow Jackets kept battling down by only two points, 43-41.
Mongold and Smith traded steals, then Mongold collected a defensive rebound.
Another missed shot by the Yellow Jackets this time was tipped and fielded by Mongold, then the ensuing shot went awry and East Hardy’s Dove corralled the ball.
Vance stole the ball back and was fouled which led to game-tying free throws with 5:23 remaining.
The Cougars hit the rim twice with rebounds by Bryce Tharp and See, then Moorefield hit the rim with Tharp grabbing the board before a walk was called.
Vance assisted See on a jumper at the 4:12 mark giving the Yellow Jackets a 45-43 edge.
Vance blocked a shot by Tharp and the Cougars recovered the ricochet with Smith drilling a 3-pointer at the 3:48 to regain the lead, 46-45.
“Chase had so much determination tonight. I told you before he is a great kid and he works hard. They weren’t going to stop him and he was determined to win the game and we did. We knew it was going to be loud and they weren’t going to be able to hear me, just the crowd. I told them to go out and just play basketball. The crowd really gets into it and gives our kids some extra energy,” Coach Stutler added.
Moorefield missed the next shot and See was called for a foul, then the Cougars had an errant attempt with the tip collected by Williams prior to a blocked shot by Bryce Tharp.
The Yellow Jackets took the lead moments later on a jumper in the paint by Vance with 2:50 left, 47-46.
East Hardy answered swapping the lead on a basket by Bryce Tharp off an assist from Andrew Tharp at 2:27.
After a foul by Smith, Vance was whistled for a foul during the inbound play.
Andrew Tharp collided with Williams with the shot going awry, then Dove hauled in the rebound and was fouled.
Moran fouled Andrew Tharp and the free throw didn’t connect as Vance snatched the board.
Moorefield hit the rim and there was a scramble for the ball with the Cougars gaining possession before Moran stole the ball back.
Vance collected an offensive rebound and made the putback as the Yellow Jackets buzzed ahead 49-48 with one minute remaining.
“It was big. That was the second time we’ve done it in my high school career and against a rival is great,” Moorefield senior Chase Vance noted.
After a timeout, the Cougars hit the rim and Moran hauled in the carom and called timeout before the ball was snatched away by Dove with 20 seconds left.
East Hardy’s Andrew Tharp swiped the ball and was immediately fouled with 19 seconds on the clock, but failed to connect on the one-and-one at the line with See and Price locking up on the rebound for a jump ball back to the Cougars.
Williams fouled Price, who missed the free throw with 18 seconds and there was a scramble for the ball with East Hardy’s Bryce Tharp coming away with the ball, then a timeout was called with 17 seconds to go.
“Coleman has been doing big things for us all year. He’s hit big shots all year. He is a gamer, so once that ball went up, he knew he was going to get the rebound,” Coach Stutler noted.
The Cougars couldn’t locate an open shot in the corners, so Dove elected to wind the clock down for the final attempt from the perimeter near the bench on top right side of the key under pressure from Williams and Moran with the shot ricocheting off the rim and Moorefield’s Coleman Mongold hauled in the last rebound with Adam Baker in tow to seal the semifinal victory advancing to the section championship.
“Some games mean a bit more to you. That game meant a lot more to all of us. It was a gutsy win. We didn’t play the best and I personally didn’t play the best and my team picked me up. We had a great game and we played good defense at the end. We got a couple bounces in the end and got the win. It was just awesome,” Moorefield senior Thomas Williams commented.
Vance guided the Yellow Jackets with 17 points, followed by Shoemaker and Mongold with 11 markers apiece.
Smith led East Hardy with 15 points, followed by Bryce Tharp with nine points.