Hilltoppers Win Third Straight WVIAC Tournament Championship - Mar 7, 2013
CHARLESTON, W. Va. West Liberty notched its third straight WVIAC Tournament Championship with a huge second half, downing Fairmont State 92-78.
The score was tied six times and the lead changed on seven occasions in the first period.
For much of the first five minutes of the game, the Falcons held a small lead. The squad had a five-point edge, which was the largest margin for the designated visitors in the contest.
Tied at 31, C.J. Hester hit a lay-up for a two-point edge with 5:01 to go. Bubby Goodwin hit a three-point shot to make it a five-point advantage, but the Falcons Brendan Cooper countered with a jumper of his own.
Goodwin buried a deep three to push the lead to six, 39-33, with 3:26 to play. Seger Bonfiant got into the act, drilling a three to make it a 42-33 contest at the 2:54 mark. However, Cooper hit four charity tosses down the stretch and Isaac Thornton scored a three-point shot, pulling FSU within two at the break.
The Falcons netted six of the first eight points of the second half, taking a 46-44 lead at the 18-minute mark. The teams traded buckets and Thorntons lay-up with 16:28 to play put FSU up 48-46. Just 15 seconds later, Chris Morrows deep three-point shot gave the Hilltoppers a lead they would not relinquish. The shot started a 10-0 run that lasted 2:30.
WLU pushed its lead to 10 on two free throws by Alex Falk (6'3''-G) with 12:17 to play. Holding a 60-52 lead with 12:02 to go, the Hilltoppers went on another run, this time it resulted in an 18-point advantage at 72-54.
The victors led by as many as 20 and allowed the Falcons to pull within single digits for just 19 ticks the rest of the way.
Falk led all scorers with 27 points to go along with six assists and four steals. Hester added 21 points and 14 rebounds while Goodwin netted 18. Shawn Dyer chipped in 12. Chris Morrow stuffed three field goal attempts and pulled down seven rebounds. WLU drilled 54.7 percent of its shots from the floor and canned 29-of-33 free throw attempts (87.9 percent).
The Falcons were paced by Malik Stith and Thornton. Both players shared team-high honors with 17 points apiece. Cooper added 13 points while KeChaun Lewis hit for nine points. Isaiah Hill added eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
WVIAC Tournament Final: West Liberty - Fairmont State 92-78 WVIAC Tournament Semifinals: Fairmont State - Alderson-Broaddus 75-74 OT West Liberty - Wheeling Jesuit 92-73
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