On Tuesday night, when Thomas Walker led Rye Cove at halftime in an opening-round game of the Cumberland tournament, Pioneers coach Jerry Myers reminded his team of last year’s scenario.
Myers’ words stuck in his players’ minds and the Pioneers didn’t let up in the second half of a 72-48 win at Virginia-Wise’s Prior Convocation Center.
View the photo gallery from the games
Thomas Walker (6-17) advanced to Thursday’s semifinals to face top seed Eastside at about 8:30 p.m. at the Prior Center.
Myers was pleased with his team taking controlling of the game and setting the pace early.
The Pioneers led 16-8 after the first quarter and built a 34-19 halftime lead. But the coach wanted to make sure his team remembered last year’s devastating loss in the consolation game.
“Last year we were in a similar situation against them,” Meyers recalled. “We were just trying to talk at halftime about that and not let up. We were trying to play every possession.”
Myers, in his 33rd year of coaching high school basketball, said this year has been a tough one. His team started the season with a 1-7 mark and won only six times during the regular season.
Winning a tournament game was a major plus for his squad.
“We have played poorly at times this year and that’s been a big disappointment. We’ve had a lot of individuals who haven’t played up to we expected,” Myers said. “But this is a tournament game and that was the best we’ve played all year.”
LEADING THE CHARGE
Sophomore Caleb Yeary finished with 19 points to lead four Thomas Walker players in double-figure scoring.
Alex Williams scored 14 points for the Pioneers, Tucker Barton had 13 and Logan Ely contributed 12 points and nine rebounds.
Rye Cove’s Chase Love led all scorers with 21 points.
CASTLEWOOD HOLDS OFF TWIN SPRINGS
In Tuesday’s other opening-round tournament game, Castlewood defeated Twin Springs 44-39.
The Blue Devils (10-11) advanced to the tournament semifinal round where they’ll play J.I. Burton on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Virginia-Wise.
Brady Gilbert led Castlewood with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Twin Springs (6-17) got 19 points from Justin Reed and 10 rebounds from Dean Jarnagin.