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Cameron earns first state tourney appearance with win over Tyler

Tyler Consolidated’s Justin Bowman (3) defends against Cameron’s Conner Powell during the Dragons’ regional co-final victory on Wednesday. (Photo by Cody Tomer)

CAMERON — The shirts given to the Cameron boys’ basketball team following Wednesday’s Class A, Region I co-final said it all — Cut The Net!

Coach Tom Hart and his Dragons did just that on their home floor after defeating Tyler Consolidated 59-44, punching their first ticket to the state tournament in team history.

“It’s an amazing feeling of pride in this community and in this school right now,” Hart said. “It’s at an all-time high. The girls may be playing for a state championship, the wrestling program was state runner-up and now we punch our first ticket to Charletson. I’m so proud of these guys.”

Brothers Cole Burkett and Logan Burkett led the Dragons with 25 points and 10 points, respectively.

“This is my brother’s last year,” Cole Burkett said.

“This is my last year playing with him and we had a talk in the locker room before the game about not leaving anything out there. We have posters in the locker room saying ‘play like it’s your last game’ and we finished the mission.”

Cameron jumped out to a 9-2 advantage but Tyler enjoyed a 10-0 run to follow — securing a 12-9 upperhand.

That run was immediately answered by the Dragons, who went on a 10-3 spurt for a 19-15 edge midway through the second quarter.

With the Silver Knights hanging close behind and the first half clock winding down, Logan Burkett heaved the ball from well beyond the 3-point line and hit nothing but net to beat the buzzer — sending the team dashing into the locker room and leaving the fans in a frenzy.

“That was a momentum changer. It really was,” Hart said. “It gave us a little bit of a spark.”

It also gave the Dragons a 31-21 advantage at the break.

Tyler had one more spurt left in the tank in the third quarter when a 7-0 run cut the deficit to 38-30 but a 13-2 run early in the fourth put the game out of reach.

“We knew Tyler was going to make a run,” Hart said. “They made several runs, just like we did. (Coach) Steve (Nutter) does a great job with that program.

“I’m just so happy for these boys, this community and this school. It’s a big time achievement for us. This is 100 years of Cameron basketball and we’re finally going to Charletson.”

Tyler was led by Caleb Strode with 19 points.

“Strode played a great game,” noted Silver Knight head coach Steven Nuter, whose team finished 11-10.

∫ Webster County’s Carter Williams hit a shot at the buzzer to lift the Highlanders past Greater Beckley Christian, 82-81, in overtime of a Class A, Region III co-final.

Williams finished with 24 points, Rye Gadd had 25 and Webster County also received double figures from Kaden Cutlip (19) and Devin Coley (10).

GBC was led by Kaden Smallwood’s 28 points and Jordan McInnis’ 25 markers.

In a Region IV co-final, visiting Gilmer County had to forfeit to Tug Valley due to COVID-19 contact-tracing.

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