CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Winfield Coach Pat McGinnis took a unique approach to the way his team defended George Washington All-State guard Luke Eddy on Wednesday night at George Washington High School.
The result wasn't good for the Mountain State Athletic Conference's newest member.
Eddy scored 15 points in the first quarter en route to a career-high 44 points to send the Patriots to a 62-51 victory before a sparse crowd in South Hills.
While box-and-one and double teams were the defense of choice for GW's first six opponents, Winfield (4-3) opted to try something different.
"In the first quarter, they played me one-on-one, they just backed off me, and I just went up and shot it," said Eddy, who hit his first six shots, including his first three 3-pointers, to improve GW's record to 5-2. "I wasn't really taking bad shots."
The Daily Mail's reigning Kanawha Valley Player of the Year continued to make the most of his opportunities. He was only 2-of-3 in the second quarter, but his second shot was a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the hosts a 29-20 lead.
He was 3-of-4 in the third and 4-of-5 in the fourth with six free throws - including five consecutive charity tosses to end the game.
The 6-foot point guard - who averages 26.1 points per game - accounted for almost 71 percent of his team's points, while fellow senior Austin Breeden had eight points and 11 rebounds.
For the season, Eddy has scored 183 of the Patriots' 384 points. He added nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and a blocked shot against Winfield.
"Obviously, you'd like to see if your team can play him straight up first, see if you can get enough good help," said McGinnis, whose team is in its fifth year as a Class AAA school but first in the MSAC. "Obviously, we knew he was really good and can put up some points."
Winfield switched to a zone and got it close down the stretch. After trailing by as much as 11 in the third quarter and by nine with 6:12 left, the Generals closed to 45-42 with 4:21 remaining.
A three-point play and basket by Eddy pushed it back to nine. A pair of 3-pointers by Zach Fisher sandwiched a GW bucket to spark his career-high 29-point effort and trim it back to five with 2:06 left.
A 3-pointer by Chris Turner with 1:27 left made it 55-51, but a Breeden putback and a technical foul on McGinnis allowed GW to score the game's final seven points.
"We don't start with a sense of urgency," McGinnis said. "We just had a game with Hurricane and we played the first two quarters the same way, then in the third and fourth we played with a sense of urgency and that was kind of the same thing here."
The Generals were 4-of-10 from the field in the first with Fisher scoring nine of their 13 points in the period. He didn't slow down and hit 11 in the fourth quarter, increasing his season average to 17.7 points per game.
Turner started slowly, going just 2-for-12 in the first three quarters before finishing with 13 points, four steals and three blocked shots. He had five of his six rebounds in the second half.
A different strategy for the Generals might have helped early, but it was clear Eddy was going to have his way, although GW Coach Rick Greene acknowledges he'll need help.
"I'm biased, but we at least have a candidate for player of the year," GW Coach Rick Greene said. "It starts with him. Now, what we have to do better, six or seven games in, we're making too many little communication mental mistakes and that's what's killing us.
"We might not be the most talented, and I understand that and I think the kids are playing hard, but we have to have some of those things corrected."
Winfield's first run through the MSAC sets it up with a home contest against Riverside on Friday, before a visit to Capital on Jan. 8 and a home game against Beckley on Jan. 10.
The Patriots stay home for a game against Cabell Midland Jan. 8, before a visit to Huntington Jan. 10.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.
Winfield (4-3) FG 3Pt FT Pts
Jacob Lemmerman 2-3 0-1 0-0 4
Toby Show 1-4 0-1 1-1 3
Chris Turner 5-20 2-7 1-3 13
Zach Fisher 9-17 3-7 8-8 29
Brock Pence 1-4 0-0 0-0 2
Garrett Grafton 0-0 0-0 0-0 0