Midnight struck just after noon on Friday in the Charleston Civic Center.
That’s about the time No. 3 Chapmanville started working its offense from inside out, riding good post play and open 3-pointers to a 20-7 quarter and eventually a 57-40 win over No. 7 Lincoln in a Class AA boys state tournament semifinal.
The Tigers will play in the AA title game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against defending champion Fairmont Senior, which defeated Mingo Central 62-44 in Friday’s late semifinal.
The Cougars (13-14) made a splash by upsetting No. 2 Bluefield in a quarterfinal on Thursday, and Lincoln hung right with Chapmanville (23-4) in the first half Friday, trailing just 22-21 going into the break.
But Tigers’ freshman Obinna Anochili-Killen was forced to the bench in that second quarter with two fouls, and when he returned he proved to the first issue Lincoln faced in the tournament in which it didn’t have an answer.
Anochili-Killen scored 12 of his 14 points, grabbed eight of his 12 rebounds and recorded six of his eight blocks after the break, providing the spark the Tigers needed to pull away. He tacked on a pair of thunderous dunks in the final seconds, sending the black and orange-clad Tigers fans into a frenzy.
Chapmanville coach Brad Napier said the 6-foot-8 youngster has developed throughout the season and especially as of late, becoming a more polished player on both ends.
“It’s night-and-day difference,” Napier said. “Earlier in the year he was a totally different kid. Really the last five or six games, he’s just been everywhere. Rebounding, blocking shots, scoring around the basket, putbacks — everything really, he’s just totally different.”
“I think he was the total difference-maker,” Lincoln coach Jordan Toth added. “He’s out of the equation, we’re right there and have a chance to win, he’s a total difference-maker. Just not offensively, but blocking shots, just the presence he has inside, he’s so long, we’re not used to that length.”
Anochili-Killen’s presence down low also opened lanes for fellow big man Hunter Neil (six points, four rebounds) and outside shots for Chapmanville’s shooters.
The ever-dangerous Drew Williamson hit three 3-pointers in the first half to sustain Chapmanville and finished with 11 points. Kyle Browning added 13 points, seven assists and seven rebounds and Dylan Smith contributed 10 points and five assists on a balanced day for the Tigers.
“I thought Lincoln came out with a great game plan, they switched defenses a lot which kept us off balance,” Napier said. “In the second half I think our guys settled down a little bit and were doing a much better job of going inside first and then kicking it outside for 3s.”
Browning and Smith hit five of their combined six 3s in the second half as Chapmanville hit 10 of 23 shots from distance.
The Tigers enjoyed a 34-24 advantage in rebounding and registered assists on 15 of 21 made field goals.
Williamson was matched up one-on-one with Lincoln’s Chase Riley for much of the game, and while Riley scored 19 points to lead the Cougars, those points came on 8-of-21 shooting. Lincoln shot just 34.9 percent for the game.
“I think their size caught up with us in the second half,” Toth added. “I thought the first half we played eyeball to eyeball with them, I thought we played hard and I thought we played well. We came into halftime believing we could win the game and we played the second half believing that too.”
No one outside of Riley had more than six points for Lincoln.