CLARKSBURG - A furious comeback attempt came up just short for Elkins Wednesday night in the Tigers' 57-54 loss at Class AAA, No. 10 Robert C. Byrd.
Elkins (0-9) struggled in the early stages of the contest and trailed by 17 points at 39-22 at intermission.
But the Tigers clawed back to start the third stanza and cut the deficit to 10 points when a Logan Phillips score made it 43-33 with 3:50 left in the quarter.
Elkins cut the lead to single digits when James Gainer made good on an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 45-38 with 2:05 left in the third.
Both teams traded baskets down the stretch and the Eagles (8-1) took a 50-44 advantage into the final canto.
The Tigers kept rolling to open the final quarter as a Cody Gainer three-pointer to start the set cut the hosts deficit to 50-47.
Robert C. Byrd's Iziah Hill answered with a short jumper to push the margin to 52-47 with five minutes to play.
Elkins pounced back with two free throws from Cody Gainer and a jumper Brandon Roth to cut the lead to 52-51 with four minutes remaining.
Adam Secret gave the Eagles some breathing room at 55-51 when he knocked down a three-pointer with 3:20 to play.
Colby Gainer then connected on 1-of-2 shots from the free throw line to cut the lead to 55-53 with 2:26 left.
A missed free throw on the other end from RCB and back-to-back turnovers from both squads ran the clock to under a minute to play.
The Eagles missed the front end of three-straight 1-plus-1 free throw attempts down the stretch and allowed the Tigers to stay in the game.
Elkins finally capitalized with 2.8 seconds remaining when Logan Phillips hit a short jumper to cut the lead to 55-54.
RCB?turned the ball over on the inbound play, giving it back to the Tigers with 2.7 seconds to go.
But Elkins gave it right back to the Eagles and was forced to foul Hill, who knocked down a pair of free throws to end the game.
"We made too many critical turnovers in the first half," Elkins coach Roy Simms said. "But I was happy with the way the kids battled back and fought to the very end. Hopefully we can carry our play in the second half into Friday's game."
Roth led the way for the Tigers with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
James Gainer followed with nine points and Cody Gainer hit for eight.
Hill scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Eagles. Secret also reached double-figures with 13 points.
Elkins will travel to Tennerton to face rival Buckhannon-Upshur on Friday at 7:30 p.m.