CHARLESTON - Philip Barbour battled defending state champion Oak Hill on even terms for nearly three quarters Thursday night in Class AA quarterfinal action before Kalif Wright took over.
The all-stater and player of the year runner-up scored eight points over a 3:00 stretch to close the third canto as the Red Devils pulled past the Colts for a 53-36 victory at the Charleston Civic Center.
Philip Barbour, despite being the eight seed in the tournament, never backed down against the taller top-seeded team and never trailed by more than eight points until Oak Hill's late surge to end the third quarter.
Philip Barbour’s Isaiah Simon drives to the basket as Oak Hill’s Kaliff Wright defends Thursday in state tournament action at the Charleston Civic Center. (CU?and The Inter-Mountain/Joey Kittle)
"This game was a lot closer than the final score indicated," said Philip Barbour coach Marcus Johnson. "No disrespect to Oak Hill, because they have a very good team, but we had our opportunities to win this game.
"We just got into foul trouble and they were able to wear us down at the end."
The turning point in the game came when the Colts' Isaiah Simon was whistled for his third foul in the third quarter. That limited the 6-foot-4 senior's defensive capabilities against Wright, who scored 14 of his game-high 32 points in the third. Teammate and second-leading rebounder Cody Lindsey also was forced to the bench in the third with foul trouble.
Philip Barbour trailed 19-15 at the half but an old-fashioned three-pointer by Sam Crickenberger brought the Colts within 26-24 with 3:22 remaining in the third
The Colts would come no closer as the Red Devils went on a 10-2 run to end the canto.
"We picked up our play in the third," said Oak Hill coach Fred Ferri Jr. "We were standing around a lot in the first half, especially on defense, and not playing good team defense at all."
The lead grew to 11 before a trey from Zack Summerfield brought Philip Barbour to within eight at 39-31 with 6:45 left in regulation. After a three-pointer by Tyler Rogers cut the deficit to 43-34, the Red Devils ended the game on another 10-2 surge.
Wright, who was the lone player in double figures for the winners, also had 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Deandre Leonard added 10 caroms and eight assists.
Simon poured in 14 points and collected 11 rebounds for the Colts, who ended the season 17-9.
"Philip Barbour has a very good team and I don't know why they were the eight seed," Wright said. "Their big guy Simon is a good player and we're happy to get the win against them."
"I think Isaiah showed he can go against one of the best players in the state and hold his own," he said. "Our kids gave a great effort and played with a lot intensity. We just missed a lot of good looks at the basket, and with the foul trouble, were too mu
Oak Hill (23-3) faces Keyser today in semifinal action at 7:30 p.m.