WILLIAMSTOWN — Wirt County made progress during the course of its three meetings with Williamstown, but the Yellowjackets continued to have the Tigers’ number.
On senior night Tuesday at Williamstown High School, the Yellowjackets held on to defeat Wirt County 63-60 to complete the regular-season hat trick.
Matt Kiger posted a team-high 16 points and 10 rebounds as the fifth-ranked Yellowjackets improved to 15-4. The two teams had just met on Saturday night in the Little Kanawha Conference Night of Champions third-place game with Williamstown posting a five-point victory.
“In the season-opener, we had a 25-point lead at halftime — Wirt County has gotten better and you can tell they’ve really worked hard,” Williamstown coach Scott Sauro said.
Williamstown built a 10-point lead by the five-minute mark of the third quarter, but lacked the killer instinct. Behind three consecutive 3-pointers, Wirt County climbed back into the contest and pulled to within 46-45 by the end of the period. The Tigers eventually took the lead at 57-54 on a trey from Alex Wilson.
“I know it is a little bit late in the year to be saying this, but we have to learn how to close out games better,” Sauro said.
“I was glad we pulled it out because we fell behind and we had some kids make some plays.”
One in particular was Sam Wright. The senior scored on a lay-up with 1:37 showing to pull the Yellowjackets within one at 57-56. On the ensuing possession, Michael Lemon missed the front-end of a one-and-one.
Williamstown pulled down the defensive rebound and eventually called timeout.
Off the inbounds play at halfcourt, the entry pass was intended for Kiger, but a Wirt County defender knocked the ball away. The loose ball eventually landed into the waiting grasp of Wright, who scored the easy bucket and put Williamstown in front to stay with 51.7 seconds remaining.
Wright was fouled on the sequence, missed the free throw but rebounded the offensive board. He found teammate Daniel Spurgeon, who was quickly fouled. Spurgeon made both free throws to extend the gap to 60-57.
Wirt County’s next series resulted in a missed 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. Kiger pulled down one of his game-high 10 rebounds and was fouled. He made one of two free throws then clinched the game by recording a steal at 6.3 seconds. Again he was fouled and this time he converted both charity tosses for a 63-57 cushion.
Also scoring in double figures for the Yellowjackets was Drew Townsend with 14 points. Michael Davis led Wirt County (12-9) with 18 points and nine rebounds. Lemon added 15 points, while Zach Moore tossed in 11 points.
“Williamstown is experienced,” Wirt County coach Tim Murray said.
“These aren’t the same kids who played (at state) the last couple of years, and that gives them the confidence we don’t have yet. That may have been the difference in the game.”