It was Tyler Knight’s night. And Winfield’s.
Knight, a junior guard in the game strictly for defensive purposes, stole a long inbound pass with 2.6 seconds left Friday night and banked in a shot from three-quarter-court at the buzzer, giving Winfield an electrifying 44-41 boys basketball win against visiting Poca, the No. 1 team in Class AA.
It was the only three points of the game for Knight, who played about 40 seconds in the entire game, according to Generals coach Chris Stephens.
With the score tied at 41, Winfield tried to hold for the final shot, but lost possession on a charging call with 2.6 seconds to go. Poca attempted to throw a long pass down the floor to All-State guard Isaac McKneely, but Knight leaped to intercept the ball in the foul lane, took a dribble and launched about a 70-foot shot that banked home. He and his teammates were mobbed on the floor as the delirious Winfield student section spilled onto the court.
“He was going to be our safety guy,’’ Stephens said of Knight, “to be the rover and take anything over the top. They put McKneely at the other end of the floor, so he was watching him, but they threw it short, [Knight] intercepted, took one dribble and shot it.’’
It was the second solid defensive play of the game for Knight, who helped cause a steal in the waning seconds of the first half that led to a Generals’ layup and a 25-23 halftime lead. Knight has now scored just nine points all season for Winfield (6-4).
“The good thing with him,’’ Stephens said, “is that he’s been a good teammate the whole year. The last three games, he’s started to get a few minutes here and there, and he’s taking advantage of them. He was ready tonight for coming off the bench cold and making two big plays to end each half.’’
Ethan Kincaid led Winfield with 21 points and McKneely had 19 for the Dots (6-2). Ethan Payne added a dozen points for Poca, which hosts Class AAA No. 8 Fairmont Senior (8-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Defense has been the calling card all season for the Generals, who are 5-0 when they hold an opponent to 50 points or fewer.
“The guys have been buying in all year on defense,’’ Stephens said. “Our issue usually has been putting the ball in the basket.
“We felt as a team, as coaches, that we gave away two games earlier this week and were having a tough week, so this was a good one to get. It’s a game we came in knowing we could win.’’
Charleston Catholic 59, Scott 46: Jayallen Turner turned in 16 points as Charleston Catholic won on the road.
Aiden Satterfield scored 11 points and Zion Suddeth tacked on 10 for the Irish (6-2), the No. 3 team in Class AA. For the Skyhawks (2-6), Reece Carden led the way with a game-high 19 points.
Webster County 97, Doddridge County 64: Kaden Cutlip netted 20 points and Rye Gadd chipped in 19 as Webster used a balanced scoring attack to cruise to win in Upperglade. Devin Coley pitched in with 18 points for the Highlanders (4-1), ranked No. 8 in Class A, and Carter Williams donated 11.
For Doddridge (0-6), Connor Cunningham scored a game-high 28 points and Isaac Ezell added 17.
GirlsNitro 53, Sissonville 46: Baylee Goins led all scorers with 13 points as Nitro edged visiting Sissonville.
Taylor Maddox added 12 points and Emily Lancaster chipped in 11 for the Wildcats (7-1). Sydney Farmer and Madison McCutcheon each netted 11 points to pace the Indians.