CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tucker County used the long ball to make a statement Wednesday in the opening round of the state tournament.The fourth-seeded Mountain Lions knocked down seven 3-pointers in the opening half and rode that hot shooting to a 68-61 Class A victory over No. 5 Greater Beckley Christian.Tucker (21-3) will take on No. 1 Tug Valley (23-3) at 1 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.Tucker knocked down 7 of 15 3s in the opening half to build a 13-point lead at halftime (37-24).
"When we ran our offense [GBC was] switching inside, so that's why we were popping outside and taking the 3,'' said Tucker coach Tom Gutshall. "Our kids probably played as well offensively in the first half as they have all year.
"A lot of people picked us to get beat. A lot of people said, 'Well, they didn't deserve to be the No. 4 seed.' We had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder to be honest with you. Our kids thought we should have been higher than a fourth.''The Mountain Lions only made one 3 in the second half, but they hit 8 of 11free throws in the final 2:24.Tyler Snyder scored 22 points for the Mountain Lions on 7-of-11 shooting and Ian Nichols added 20 points and 10 boards while Austin Zirk chipped in 16 points. Snyder picked up his third foul early in the third quarter and sat out the rest of the period. The Mountain Lions saw their lead slip to five points before outscoring GBC 9-2 to close out the third and take a 48-36 advantage into the final quarter.Javonne Staunton-Bailey paced the Crusaders (19-6) with 17 points followed by Elisha Kidd's 14 and Keith Mullins' 11 points and 10 rebounds.Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.