Knights roll to win over Panthers
HUNTINGTON -- Stephen Matthews got three first-quarter baskets on layups off turnovers caused by Cabell Midland's full-court press against Lincoln County.
Matthews connected on two 3-pointers from the top of the key in the third period after the big men for the Knights drew defenders to them down low and they sent the ball back out to the 6-foot-2 senior or a fellow guard.
In the fourth period, Cabell Midland again took advantage of its size as 6-4 Keegan Adkins scored eight of his nine points.
That combination proved just too much for the Panthers and Cabell Midland rolled to a 74-47 victory Monday night in the first round of the West Virginia Class AAA Region IV, Section 2 boys basketball tournament at Huntington High's Lucas-Archer Gymnasium Complex.
"We put the press in, they couldn't deal with it and that set the tone," said Matthews, who finished with a game-high 22 points. "Those two threes, I was feeling it. We knew we could take advantage inside. For me, it probably was my best game."
The Knights (7-16) advance to the semifinal round Wednesday and the action goes back to Cabell Midland. They meet rival Huntington High at 6 p.m. Logan and Spring Valley square off at 8 p.m. The winners will meet for the title Friday at 7 p.m.
Early in the second period, Schylar Kelley converted a three-point play and followed with a jumper to put the Panthers ahead, 15-14. Matthews responded with a basket and Mark Wilcox hit one from behind the arc to restore the lead for Cabell Midland at 19-15. From that point, the Knights steadily pulled away.
Cabell Midland closed the game on a 15-0 run. T.J. Arbaugh had a three-point play for Lincoln County with 5:22 left, but the visitors went scoreless the rest of the game.
"The full-court press took its toll on them," Cabell Midland coach Matt Stead said. "We knew eventually it would."
Stead said Matthews did the job at both ends of the floor before he came out in the fourth period. Matthews had six rebounds.
"He's Mr. Everything," Stead said. "For some reason he lights it up here."
Down low, 6-3 Coy Petitt contributed nine points and 6-5 Niles Dailey eight to give the two and Adkins 26 points between them.
"The key's inside," Stead said. "We've got a size advantage, use it. It makes a coach look like a genius. When we share the basketball, we're a solid team."
Kelley led Lincoln County (11-12) with 13 points and Chaz Wiley added 10.
Huntington High is 2-0 against Cabell Midland this season. The Highlanders won, 63-49, at Cabell Midland on Dec. 5. It was the season opener for both teams. Huntington rolled in the rematch, 63-43, on Feb. 14 at home. The Valentine's Day game was played on school time.
"Hopefully we'll make a better showing than last time," Matthews said.
"It probably was our worst game of the year," Stead said. "We didn't handle the situation well. The kids are excited. They want to show they can play Wednesday."
LINCOLN COUNTY 10 14 13 10 -- 47: Arbaugh 3 1-1 8, Bragg 3 0-1 6, Davis 2 1-2 5, Wiley 3 3-3 10, Kelley 5 3-4 13, Adkins1 0-0 3, Reynolds 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 8-11 47.
CABELL MIDLAND 14 18 20 22 -- 74: Wilcox 3 0-0 8, Bickford 0 3-4 3, Matthews 9 2-3 22, Petitt 3 1-3 8, Beckett 4 0-0 9, Fraley 2 0-0 4, Leonard 1 1-1 3, Dailey 4 0-0 8, Adkins 4 1-2 9. Totals: 30 8-13 74.
3-point baskets: LC 3 (Arbaugh, Wiley, Adkins). CM 6 (Wilcox 2, Matthews 2, Petitt, Beckett).