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State tournament: Martinsburg claims historic Class AAA crown

By From staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Martinsburg became the first Class AAA high school to win a boys basketball state championship in the same school year as winning a state football crown Saturday, when the Bulldogs (26-2) held off Beckley (23-5) 57-52 at the Charleston Civic Center.

The top-seeded Bulldogs, who won their third basketball title and first since 2009, have won the last three Class AAA football state championships.

After building a 17-point lead with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter Saturday, Martinsburg went cold from the floor, allowing the No. 2 seed Flying Eagles to go on a 14-0 run that lasted until Martinsburg senior forward Donte' Grantham hit a pair of free throws with 4:02 left in the fourth. By then, the Bulldogs were clinging to a 47-42 advantage.

Beckley, which had won 19 consecutive games dating to Jan. 12, pulled to within 51-49 with 1:37 left when junior guard Donte Nabors sank a pair of free throws. Although a long 3-pointer from Andrew Johnson again made it a one-possession game at 55-52 with 13 seconds left, the Eagles never got closer than when Nabors hit his free throws.

Grantham hit two more foul shots with 11 seconds left to seal the win.

Martinsburg, which led from start to finish, was fueled by its ability to dominate the paint. The Bulldogs had 41 rebounds to Beckley's 32, but more importantly were able to convert 18 offensive rebounds into 24 second-chance points.

Beckley had just eight such points.

"In the first quarter, I thought it was just tremendous rebounding on our part," Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers said. "I thought our defense was good all night.

"You had to know that they were going to make a run sooner or later, and they did, and we withstood the run."

Grantham led all players with 20 points and 17 rebounds. Johnson led Beckley with 19 points while freshman center Nequan Carrington finished a strong tournament with 12 points and a team-high eight boards.

Martinsburg senior guard Jalen Lewis had 13 point. Grantham also led the Bulldogs with four assists and had three blocked shots.

 


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