SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va - One streak had to end Saturday night at the South Charleston Community Center.
Thanks to Beckley's ability to play intense defense while avoiding foul trouble, the Class AAA No. 3 Flying Eagles (17-4) won their 13th consecutive game, downing No. 2 South Charleston 77-60 in the Mountain State Athletic Conference boys basketball championship game.
The loss ended a 40-game win streak in conference games for the Black Eagles (18-2).
"We made adjustments. We came in at halftime and two of their guys had three (fouls), and coach told us to keep on attacking," Beckley junior guard Donte Nabors said after leading all scorers with 25 points.
"We thought if we kept on attacking they were gonna bite, and they did," Nabors said.
Beckley built a 44-31 lead by halftime, as SC standouts A.D. Cunningham and Ra'Shaud Kincade - the team's two leading scorers on the season - each picked up three personals in the opening quarters. As they did, Nabors scored 17 of his points before the half.
Cunningham led an SC rally early in the third quarter that pulled the Black Eagles back into contention for a short while, and he finished with 13 points. Kincade, however, scored just five points and had four assists.
SC senior forward Trevond Reese, who came off the bench to score 10 points and grab seven rebounds, also fouled out.
Beckley got to the line to shoot 29 free throws. The Flying Eagles converted on 22 of those attempts.
"We told them if we took the ball to them, they were going to foul us," Beckley Coach Ron Kidd said. "Our kids have done a terrific job this whole week of listening to what we're telling them and doing the things we do.
"We didn't get caught up in the way they play, because they want to control the tempo. We want to play fast and they want to play controlled," Kidd said.
In the end fast won, and handily, at that. Beckley senior point guard Andrew Johnson had 16 points and eight assists while making four of his eight attempts from 3-point range. Junior forward Chase Hancock had 19 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and freshman center Nequan Carrington finished with nine points.
"Coach told us that fouling and fouling out is a mental thing," Hancock said. "You have to be disciplined and focused to keep from getting fouls. I think we were able to do that and still play defense the way we like to play, which was the difference."
South Charleston pulled to within six points of the lead with 4:48 left in the game when senior guard Devyn Harris hit a 3-pointer that made it 61-55. Nabors answered quickly, however, and on SC's return trip down the court Kincade was whistled for a charge, giving him five fouls.