Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

BOYS BASKETBALL CAPITAL 69, UNIVERSITY 56 ; Cougars Coast to Classic Victory

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

BOYS BASKETBALL CAPITAL 69, UNIVERSITY 56 ; Cougars Coast to Classic Victory

Article excerpt

BECKLEY - Capital got to double its pleasure Friday afternoon at the Big Atlantic Classic. Not only did the Cougars pick up a nice win against University, their reserve players got a valuable learning experience in closing out a game.

Mainstays Miguel Bays and Leondre' Rogers combined for 32 points and Capital coasted to a 69-56 victory at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

The outcome sends Capital into the Big Atlantic Class AAA co- championship game at 9 p.m. today against Parkersburg South.

The Cougars (13-2), ranked No. 5 in the state, won their fifth in a row but may have taken their foot off the gas a little early in the fourth quarter, allowing the Hawks (9-4) a chance to slip back into contention.

Capital was in front 59-39 early in the fourth quarter and shortly thereafter, coach Matt Greene started pulling his starters. By the midway point of the final period, the Cougars had five backups on the floor and the lead slowly began to melt.

When University's Ryan McCord made a free throw with 1:43 left, the Hawks were within 64-54 and had scored 12 of the game's previous 15 points. Greene then relented, slightly, putting point guard Rogers back in to settle things at the 1:33 mark. The Cougars made 5 of 10 free throws afterward to finally put it away.

"We felt like we needed to get those guys some reps," Greene said of his backups. "We've been playing a lot of games lately and I was really trying to rest guys and make sure we stay fresh. We've got a game [tonight] and we come right back and play Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week.

"So I was trying to get guys rest and those [reserve] guys need the experience. It's good for them to handle the pressure a little bit, and have to work through it. But it got a little closer than I'd like."

Rogers, in particular, was squirming on the bench, hollering out instructions to the Cougars' backups in the final four minutes.

"We wanted them to rotate like we were supposed to in the press," Rogers said, "and people weren't getting back. We weren't communicating, and that's a big part of our defense. When he took me out, I didn't think the score would go down that much. …

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