There was no better feeling than shouting for joy as the Yellow Jackets finally snapped a 17-game losing streak while knocking their rival East Hardy out of the Class A Region II Section 2 quarterfinals on the road in Baker by a score of 60-51.
Moorefield senior Garett Haggerty flexed on the hardwood as the buzzer sounded and exhaled a shout of jubilation knowing his team will continue to the next round against Paw Paw in the semifinals after erasing the streak.
“It means a lot. Everybody doubted us all year, but not anymore,” Moorefield senior Garett Haggerty remarked.
“We proved ourselves today. We play a tough schedule for a reason. That was so much fun, I had a lot of fun in that game. I don’t want it to end and I don’t think it will.”
Giving a show for the fans, Haggerty blocked nine shots attempts by the Cougars and contributed ten points.
There were four players in double figures for the Yellow Jackets led by Chase Vance with 16 points, followed by Thomas Williams with 14 points, Blake Watts with 13 points and Haggerty (10).
East Hardy (9-12) was in control in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets (4-19) would be resilient in fighting back.
Brett Tharp ended his career with a game-high 20 points in the loss for the Cougars and Aden Funkhouser added a dozen markers.
In the last meeting during the regular season, East Hardy won in overtime after it was forced by the Yellow Jackets.
“All year we have been fighting back and fighting hard. I told them at halftime, you have 16 more minutes to fight, come out shoot the ball, play defense and we will win this game,” Moorefield Coach Scott Stutler commented.
“I did tell you we were going to knock someone off and we did. I’m proud of these guys, they play their hearts out every night. They deserve to win this game. They fought the whole game. Blake Watts played an excellent game offensively and defensively. [Garett] Haggerty had eight blocks and Chase [Vance] had 16 points, Thomas [Williams] hit some big threes and [Brent] Moran did some good things on defense and offense. It was a team effort and our bench was excited. I’m excited to move on and we’re excited to get back to Paw Paw. We felt like we should have beat them last time we were there, so we will be ready to go.”
Starting this playoff game with everybody on the same level with records thrown out the window, it was the Cougars pouncing out to a 10-0 advantage and Moorefield shook off the slow start initially with a 3-pointer and would turn up the heat in the second half erasing a double digit halftime deficit.
After a handful of missed opportunities to begin the game, it was nearly a minute before the first points graced the scoreboard with East Hardy’s Brett Tharp collecting a rebound and scoring.
East Hardy senior Jesse Dove snatched a defensive rebound and passed to Aden Funkhouser for a jumper to extend the lead 4-nil at 6:32.
Tharp swiped the ball and netted a layup, then senior Casey Connelley grabbed a defensive rebound for the Cougars and Tharp finished the possession with a shot over Moorefield’s Blake Watts at 5:37 to go up 8-0 before a timeout was called by the Yellow Jackets.
Connelley snatched another board after the timeout and Funkhouser hit a basket in the paint to create a 10-0 run at 5:06.
Moorefield’s Chase Vance garnered a 3-pointer on the next series to stop the run at 4:43, 10-3.
Free throws didn’t fall for Tharp on the other end and Moorefield’s Lane Ours collected the rebound to make up for the foul committed attempting a block.
However, Tharp stole the ball and missed a field goal with Ours hauling in another board.
Tharp and Watts made defensive rebounds, then the Yellow Jackets lost the ball and Tharp nailed a 3-pointer at 3:27 for a 13-3 advantage.
Funkhouser and Vance made defensive boards, then Brent Moran knocked down a 3-pointer for the Yellow Jackets at 2:54, 13-6.