The Whiteoak Wildcats gave the Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs a run for their money in the first half of a cross-county rivalry matchup Friday night, but the Lynchburg fellows turned it back around in the second half, running away with a 19-point league win.
Lynchburg-Clay advances to 14-4, 10-1 on the night, while Whiteoak falls to 2-14, 0-10.
The Wildcats came out screaming in the first quarter, running just behind the Mustangs until Trever Yeager staged an 8-8 tie with a 2-pointer and a free throw before the four-minute mark. Hunter Ruckel took the lead for the Wildcats with a long three that brought the score to 11-8 with the Mowrystown boys on top. Joe Giordano thinned the lead with a 2-pointer at 1:49, and Eric McLaughlin recovered the Mustangs’ lead with a 3-pointer at 1:13, taking the score to 13-11 Mustangs. The Wildcats were determined to take the lead back, but it didn’t happen again for the rest of the game. Stephen Ross closed out the first quarter with two from the freethrow line for Whiteoak, bringing the score to 13-12 with the Mustangs ahead by 1.
The Lynchburg boys made a 17-point gain in the second quarter against Whiteoak’s 10 points, keeping the Wildcats at bay with a tight defense. AJ Stroop thundered past the Wildcats with three 2-pointers for the quarter, leading scoring for the Mustangs, while Ruckel led scoring for Whiteoak with a 3-point shot.
By the half, Lynchburg-Clay was up by 8 at 30-22.
In the third quarter, the Mustangs improved their lead by as much as 20 points, finishing out the quarter ahead by 19 at 48-29. McLaughlin led scoring for Lynchburg in the quarter with two 2-pointers, a 3-pointer and a conversion. Ruckel tossed a three to lead scoring for Whiteoak before the buzzer.
Both teams scored high in the fourth quarter with 20 points apiece. Lynchburg’s Quintin Smith was the star of the fourth quarter, shooting 6 for 6 from the freethrow line. The Mustangs led by as much as 22 points in the final period, wearing the ‘Cats down and galloping away with the win at 68-49 by the final buzzer.
McLaughlin led the Mustangs with 25 points, while Hamilton led scoring for the Wildcats with 17 points.
“I thought we played a little bit better in the second half, I thought defensively we weren’t as intense as I’d like to be,” said Lynchburg-Clay head coach Matt Carson. “Credit Whiteoak, they came out and played hard. Glad for the kids to get another win. That clinches us at least a share of the league title, so hopefully we can come back next Friday against Fayetteville and win it outright.”
“The kids played hard tonight, we just ran into a better team,” said Whiteoak head coach Jeremy McGraw. “We were pretty happy earlier on, we did a good job of forcing some contested shots and rebounding the ball well. Eventually, they wore us down with their size and shooters. I was proud of our kids’ effort. They did everything we asked them to do. In the third quarter, we just couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
Elsewhere, the Fairfield Lions took a key league win Friday night against the North Adams Green Devils at 69-58, advancing to 14-5, 9-2 for the season; the McClain Tigers took a 3-point loss in a road matchup against East Clinton at 39-36, bringing them to 6-12, 3-8; and the Hillsboro Indians lost to Washington High School on the road at 67-61, falling to 4-14, 4-7.
Lynchburg-Clay — 13 17 18 20 — 68
Whiteoak — 12 10 7 20 — 49
LCHS: Pierson 1-2/2-4; McLaughlin 7(3)-2/4-25; Croy 1-2; Giordano 4(1)-2/2-13; Smith 6/6-6; Lampkin 1(1)-6/8-11; Stroop 3-1/2-7
WHS: Skinner 1/2-1; Hamilton 4(2)-3/5-17; Ross 1-3/4-5; Carr 1-0/2-2; Ruckel (4)-2; Ison 1-2; Yeager 4-2/2-10
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.