HAMBLETON-The combination of a 31-point first quarter and the long-range shooting of Tucker County's Austin Zirk were too much for Tygarts Valley to overcome on Thursday night.
In a battle of Class A state-ranked teams, the No. 3 Mountain Lions took control early, outscoring the No. 10 Bulldogs 31-7 in the opening canto en route to a 65-42 victory.
"We played extremely well - both offensively and defensively - in the first quarter," Tucker County coach Tom Gutshall said. "But we came out flat in the second quarter. We took some terrible shots and just looked flat.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joey Kittle
Tucker County’s Mikhail Lewis makes a diving attempt to save a loose rebound in front of Tygarts Valley’s Brett Griffith Thursday night in Potomac Valley Conference play in Hambleton. The Mountain Lions claimed a 65-42 victory over the Bulldogs.
"We have to be more consistent for four quarters." Despite the early deficit, the Bulldogs actually outscored the hosts 35-34 the remainder of the game.
"We didn't match their intensity to start the game," Tygarts Valley coach Tom Wamsley said. "(Tucker) does a great job of pressuring the ball on defense.
"It was a physical game and we never got into rhythm on offense."
Tucker County scored the game's first six points and built a 17-2 advantage midway through the quarter on an old-fashioned three-pointer from Tyler Snyder, who had seven assists and seven rebounds in three quarters of action.
Both teams struggled on the offensive end in the second quarter with the Mountain Lions outscoring the Bulldogs, 6-4.
Tucker County regained its early offensive form in the second half, starting the third quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 43-13 lead. A trey by Brett Griffith brought the Bulldogs to within 50-22 entering the fourth.
A conventional three-point play by Brandon Pritt with 5:00 left cut the lead to 56-34, which matched the Bulldogs' halftime deficit.
Zirk had seven treys on the evening to finish with a career-high 28 points. Ian Nichols added seven caroms.
"Austin has been playing well for us," Gutshall said. "He can really shoot the ball and has been doing that for us the past couple of games."
Griffith and Pritt each finished with 12 points for the Bulldogs, who fell to 6-1 on the season. Pritt also collected eight rebounds, while freshman Ben Sycafoose dished out three assists and Adam Cassell collected four steals.
"We need to bounce back from this loss and get ready for Pendleton County," Wamsley said. "There's still a lot of basketball left in this season."
The Bulldogs will travel to Pendleton County at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Tucker County, which has won seven straight games since losing to Preston in its opener, will visit Southern at 7:30 p.m. today.