BECKLEY, W.Va. - The holidays are long gone, but both teams were in a giving mood Tuesday night at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.Woodrow Wilson committed seven turnovers in the third quarter to help give South Charleston a 12-point lead, but the Black Eagles nearly gave it all right back before holding on for a 51-44 road victory in a battle of state-ranked teams.It marked the third straight home loss for the Flying Eagles (4-3).Senior guard Rashaud Kincaid knocked down a big 3-pointer with 2:55 left in the game and led SC, the No. 3 team in Class AAA, with 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals. A.D. Cunningham, the team's top scorer on the season, added 10 points.
Kincaid, a three-year starter, said his team's last trip to Beckley - a three-overtime loss - weighed heavily on the minds of SC's players."We kind of had a chip on our shoulder because they beat us in three overtimes,'' Kincaid said. "We wanted to come out and play very hard. We knew they could match up talent-wise across the board.''The contest was knotted at halftime and neither team led by more than six points before SC (7-1) ripped off 10 in a row toward the end of the third quarter to take a 40-28 lead and remained up by 12 heading into the final quarter at 42-30.Trevond Reese contributed five points in that quick burst, Kincaid sank a 3 and Neal Brown made an inside shot.
No. 7 Woodrow, however, made up for its errant ball-handling in the third quarter by scoring the first 11 points of the final period and coming within 42-41 on an Andrew Johnson layup off a steal."We started making some shots and stopped turning the ball over,'' said Flying Eagles coach Ron Kidd. "If we stop turning the ball over, good things happen. In the third quarter, we didn't do that, and you can't turn the ball over against a good team. They're quick and athletic, but a lot of it was kind of our doing. I thought some of the [bad] passes were us and not them.''But right when it looked like the Flying Eagles would snap out of their funk, Kincaid dropped a bomb on them. His 3-pointer gave SC a 45-41 edge with less than three minutes to go and Woodrow never again got that close."What you saw was us shooting the haymaker,'' said SC coach Vic Herbert, "which isn't what we do a lot of, but we made a few of them tonight. We tell our kids to take 3s in the context of what we do. They can't be ugly 3s - one pass and even though you're open, you jack it up.''Woodrow's Donte Nabors hit 1 of 2 free throws at the 1:01 mark to make it 46-44, but SC tallied the final seven points - four of them clutch free throws by Kincaid.
With South Charleston up 47-44, a moving Johnson seemed worried about being called for a possible double-dribble and threw an ill-advised pass that Kincaid swiped. He drew a foul and hit both foul shots.It was one of 14 steals for SC and one of 21 turnovers by Woodrow.
"We kind of forced some shots there [early] in the fourth quarter and it got them back in the game,'' Kincaid said. "Then we stopped doing that.''Woodrow also had an off-night from distance, going 0 of 11 from 3-point range."We're kind of in a slump,'' Kidd said. "We've got to get our confidence back and start knocking them down.''Nabors led the Flying Eagles with 18 points, but went only 7 of 21 from the floor. Nequan Carrington backed him with a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds), including three rebound goals.Woodrow did control the boards, grabbing 53 rebounds to SC's 26. Chase Hancock led the hosts with 12 rebounds. Reese also had seven for the Black Eagles.The Flying Eagles have now lost three straight after a 4-0 start.
"I can't believe they've lost three in a row in this building,'' Herbert said. "That's amazing to me. So this is a good win for us, and being 7-1 now.''Reach Rick Ryan t 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.