RED JACKET – First year Mingo Central basketball coach Brad Napier got his biggest win to date as he saw his squad edge the visiting Chapmanville Tigers 52-51 Tuesday night at the MCHS gym.
Freshman Stevie Hammond made the biggest shot of his young career as he banked in the game winner from five feet out with seconds left to give the Miners a one point lead.
Chapmanville Regional called a timeout and set up a play. They got the ball down the court and to their 6-4 big man Mackenzie Martin. He got a shot right under the basket, however 6-6 senior Marqus Cunningham blocked the shot and Mingo Central hung on to win a big Cardinal Conference matchup.
The game also had huge implications on the seeding for the upcoming Class AA sectional tournament. This was the second time the Miners had beaten the Tigers this season. They got by Chapmanville 58-51 back in December.
Mingo Central still has to play Scott on Friday and Wayne next Tuesday, while Chapmanville has Wayne on Friday and a tough game with Tolsia next Tuesday. These games will help decide the important No. 1 seed for the sectional tournament.
Chapmanville took an early 12-5 lead after one quarter. A couple of turnovers by the Miners led to easy baskets by the Tigers. Trey Dalton and Mike Hurst hit big 3-pointers to help their team take the early lead.
Mingo Central fought back in the second period and outscored Chapmanville 15-9, which cut the halftime deficit to one point, 21-20.
Senior point guard Austin Banks had seven points and Cunningham six to help Mingo Central get back into the game. Martin had seven first half points to lead CRHS.
Banks fired in a 3-pointer and then hit a layup to give MCHS a 27-26 lead midway in the third quarter.
After trading points, Chapmanville went on a 6-0 run to regain the lead at 34-29.
Mingo Central got a 3-pointer from junior Julius Hatcher to cut the Tiger lead to 34-32 with 43 seconds left in the third. Kenny Plumley hit a layup at the buzzer for coach Allan Hatcher’s squad to give his team a 36-32 lead at the end of the quarter.
The game see-sawed back and forth in the final quarter and you could sense the game would go down to the wire.
Hatcher, who had been on the bench, provided a big spark as he came back in and hit another big 3-pointer to give Mingo a 45-42 lead. Then he stole the inbounds pass. Cunningham scored a basket in the lane to give the Miners a 47-42 lead and a little breathing room.
But the Tigers continued to claw back and did not give up.
Banks hit one of two free throws to give MCHS at 48-47 lead. Then Alex Lee hit 1-2 at the line to give the Miners a 2-point lead. On his miss, he hustled and got his own rebound and threw the ball off a Chapmanville player with just 59 seconds remaining.
Banks was fouled on a shot and once again hit 1-2 at the line to make it 50-47. Plumley hit a short jumper for CRHS to cut the lead to 50-49.
That’s when Chapmanville’s Martin came up with a huge steal on the inbounds pass by Mingo Central and he got the ball to Zac Casto who made his only basket of the night, but it gave the Tigers a one point lead.
Then on the next possession, Hammond made his only shot of the night, what proved to be the game winner.
Cunningham made his block on the last second shot and the Miner’s cheering section stormed the floor. The win was one of the biggest in the young school’s history.
“I’m real proud of the way our kids came together and fought back as a team,” an elated Napier said after the game. “We didn’t stop. Even though we made some mistakes, we fought back.”
“Outside of Austin (Banks), our guards are young,” Napier added. “Julius came in and gave us a big boost. His dad (assistant coach Julius “Boo” Hatcher) had gotten on him about his defense in the first half. But he made a couple of big plays after that.”
“When you play a Chapmanville or a Poca, every possession counts,” Napier said. “We proved that tonight. I’m proud of our team tonight for the way they battled.”
Banks led Mingo Central with 19 points, while Cunningham had 14 points and hauled in nine rebounds. He also had two blocked shots, including the one to end the game. Hatcher had six points on two 3-pointers, Lee four, Garth Simpkins four ,Trevor Cline three and Hammond 2. Cline injured his knee in the game. Both he and Simpkins gave the Miners big minutes off the bench.
Martin led Chapmanville with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Plumley and Jon Williamson each scored eight points, Hurst and Dalton five each, Joe Tackett three and Casto two.
Chapmanville (9-9) was 14-20 at the free throw line for 70 percent, while Mingo (10-8)was 16-24 for 67 percent.
Score by quarters:
CRHS … 12 9 15 15 – 51
MCHS … 5 15 12 20 – 52
Chapmanville – Hurst 5, Dalton 5, Martin 18, Plumley 8, Williamson 8, Casto 2, Tackett 3.
Mingo Central – Banks 19, Lester 0, Hatcher 6, Cunningham 14, Less 4, Barker 0, Simpkins 4, Cline 3, Hammond 2, May 0, West 0.