By Carl Holcomb
The Yellow Jackets gift wrapped eight shots from the perimeter for a holiday zone present of a 52-32 victory in the Hardy Boys Hardwood Classic leaving East Hardy sifting through coal in the stocking by the fireplace last Friday in the Hive.
“I was pleased with our effort. Defensively, we were pretty solid holding them to 32 points. [Garett] Haggerty only scored five points, so Thomas [Williams] and Chase [Vance] stepped up and hit some big shots. I knew they could shoot, knew they could step up and play. We are going to keep getting better everyday. We are going to play tough teams and compete, we’re not going to back down from anybody. We did enough to get the win and it started on the defensive end,” Moorefield Coach Scott Stutler remarked.[private]
The yuletide cheer was delivered by Moorefield’s Chase Vance and Thomas Williams with triple 3-pointers apiece and 14 points shared in guidance for the caroling win.
It was a slow start for Moorefield, however, with four missed baskets to begin the game with Garett Haggerty grabbing two rebounds during that span.
East Hardy’s Casey Connelley collected a defensive rebound, but the Cougars failed to connect and Haggerty cleaned the boards once again.
Connelley made another rebound, then Vance stole the ball and Connelley blocked a shot.
Blake Watts snatched an offensive rebound for the Yellow Jackets, then missed and East Hardy’s Drew Kelican came away with the carom.
The Cougars were the first to score as Jesse Dove made a jumper drawing a foul in the process only to get the initial points without the hazard pay, 2-0 at 5:38.
Watts grabbed the ensuing rebound off the foul shot attempt and would make the basket on the possession to equalize the game for Moorefield at 5:24.
East Hardy missed missed three shots and the Yellow Jackets had a pair hit the rim with Vance, Connelley, Haggerty and Watts collecting the rebounds with the latter creating a putback for a 4-2 edge at 3:57.
Haggerty made a defensive rebound, then East Hardy’s Aden Funkhouser collected a defensive board.
Grant Keller made the next defensive rebound for the Yellow Jackets, then a deflection by Cougars center Nick Miller created a turnover with Funkhouser getting the loose ball only to have the next shot go awry with Haggerty finding the rebound.
Kelican and Keller traded steals, then Moorefield missed twice with a rebound by Watts and a jump ball going to East Hardy with Haggerty stealing the ball back for a layup at 2:02, 6-2.
Miller made an offensive rebound and a lane violation was called, then Miller got a defensive rebound.
Moorefield’s Brent Moran stole the ball and it was snatched back by Adam Baker leading to two missed free throws.
Moran knocked down a 3-pointer for a 9-2 advantage with just under a minute left in the first period.
Miller grabbed two offensive fouls before being met with contact and going to the free throw line without resulting in any points.
Kelican grabbed the rebound and assisted Baker on a field goal.
Moorefield broke the press and Williams nailed a jumper with seven seconds on the clock for an 11-4 lead.
Connelley snatched two offensive rebounds before being fouled and making one foul shot at the 7:30 mark of the second period.
Both teams missed a bucket before Watts came through with a mid-range shot.
There was a scramble for the ball with Moran diving for it and Connelley crashing on top with Kelican coming over making the foul.
Watts scored on the ensuing play in the paint, then East Hardy responded with a 3-pointer by Adam Larson for a 15-8 score at 6:17.
Moorefield’s Ben O’Neill was fouled after making a rebound and garnered one free throw.
The Cougars lost the ball out of bounds, then Haggerty sliced to the basket for a layup to go up 18-8 at 5:36.
Haggerty wasn’t able to dunk in the game, despite the offense spreading around the perimeter as East Hardy stayed in the paint most of the time.
Haggerty collected a tipped ball after a miss and passed to Keller, who drilled a 3-pointer.
Larson drew a foul and made both free throws on the Cougars possession, 21-10.
Despite missing ten shots in the last five minutes of the first half, Moorefield made up for it with a pair of 3-pointers by Williams (4:04) and Vance (:07).
Miller grabbed a defensive rebound, then was fouled by Haggerty, who stole the ball moments later.
Larson snatched a defensive board, then O’Neill stole the ball and Haggerty kept the possession alive with a rebound leading to the 3-pointer by Williams.
Defensively, the Yellow Jackets were able to keep East Hardy from getting any offensive rhythm.
East Hardy struggled to hold the ball with four turnovers on takeaways by Haggerty and O’Neill plus four missed shots, but Miller hit two free throws at 1:11.
Vance’s trifecta came off a turnover as the Cougars lost the ball out of bounds.
The Yellow Jackets took a 27-12 advantage into halftime.
Haggerty started the second half with a defensive rebound and was fouled, then Williams made a juke in the paint for a basket.
Watts blocked a shot and East Hardy recovered, then Kelican scored on a putback.
On the next series, Williams drained a 3-pointer for a 32-14 lead at 6:41.
Haggerty got a defensive rebound and lost the ball out of bounds.
East Hardy turned the ball over on a double-dribble by Funkhouser, then the Yellow Jackets lost the ball out again.
Two free throws were off the mark for East Hardy with a violation on the attempt.
Kelican and Moran got defensive rebounds, then Vance hit a 3-pointer at 4:12.
Jesse Dove created an old-fashioned three-point play for the Cougars on the ensuing possession.
Haggerty drew a foul and made one free throw and Connelley snatched the rebound.
Funkhouser was fouled on a putback attempt and added one free throw.
Haggerty made the rebound off the second free throw attempt and Williams finished the drive with a 3-pointer.
Larson went for a block on Williams and a foul was called and one free throw was made.
Williams intercepted a pass and connected with Watts for a layup, 42-18 at 1:50.
Cole Swanson scored off an assist by Kelican, then Larson made a defensive rebound.
Haggerty blocked a shot, but Funkhouser recovered the ball and scored, 42-22.
Haggerty stood still with the ball for the last shot attempt, but it was off the mark and Funkhouser grabbed the board.
The Yellow Jackets opened the fourth period on an eight reindeer sleigh (8-0 run) going up 50-22 over a span of two and a half minutes.
Moran made a layup, then Keller grabbed a rebound and Vance netted a jumper and a free throw.
Watts stole the ball and Vance ask a 3-pointer at 5:40.
Haggerty stole the ball, but the Yellow Jackets failed to convert.
Funkhouser blocked a shot on a rebound by Watts, then Moorefield fumbled the ball out and Funkhouser scored at 3:55 for East Hardy.
East Hardy’s Seth Smith swiped the ball and missed, but Funkhouser made the putback.
Smith made a defensive rebound, then Dove scored off a rebound with three minutes left, 50-28.
Dove stole the ball and drew a foul leading to a pair of free throws.
After a Moorefield walk, Baker hit a jumper at 1:44 to make it 50-32.
Larson made a defensive rebound, but Williams stole the ball away and the Yellow Jackets burned the clock down before Moran passed to Vance for a bucket with 17 seconds to go, 52-32.
The Cougars missed on two attempts before the final horn as Moorefield won 52-32 to keep the tinsel for the tree in the Hive.
Vance and Williams led the way with 14 points, but hitting the boards was Haggerty with ten rebounds for the Yellow Jackets.
Dove led the Cougars with nine points and Funkhouser contributed seven markers.
Moorefield visited Union yesterday and returns to action in the Petersburg Holiday Tournament on December 27-28.
East Hardy hosted Pendleton County yesterday and rings in the New Year at the Southern Christmas Tournament in Oakland, Md. on December 28-29.[/private]