Folden's 30 leads Wyoming East to semifinals
Wyoming East (51) Vs. Robert C. Byrd (48)
Mar 16, 2016
for the Daily Telegraph
CHARLESTON — After their battle in the Big Atlantic Classic, Wyoming East vs. Robert C. Byrd was expected to be a classic battle in the West Virginia Boys State High School Tournament.
The teams did not disappoint.
No. 4 seed Wyoming East defeated the No. 5-seeded Flying Eagles 51-48 Wednesday to advance to Friday's 1 p.m. semifinal against the top-seeded Poca Dots.
"We would have loved to have played better and we have played better," Robert C. Byrd coach Bill Bennett said. "Even with how poorly we shot, we were right in the game with one second to go."
The game was a heavyweight slugfest from the opening tip and Robert C. Byrd came out with the most energy and put the Warriors back on their heels.
The Flying Eagles jumped out to a 5-0 lead and were ahead 9-5 after one quarter. The Flying Eagles were causing the taller Warriors fits on the offensive glass and had a 10-0 advantage in the first eight minutes. But, Byrd was struggling to put the ball in the basket from the outset and it lasted all night.
"We didn't do a very good job of getting stuff back up to the rim. We have been a good rebounding team all year, but it seemed like we just couldn't get anything to fall," Bennett said. "You have to credit Wyoming East though. They played good defense, and with their two big guys, they can be a little intimidating."
While Byrd was struggling to find points, Wyoming East received a huge boost from R.J. Foldon.
Foldon poured in 13 points in the first half and stemmed a second quarter rally by the Warriors. His jumper at the 3:04 mark of the second quarter gave East its first lead, and two more bombs from behind the arc put East up 20-15 at the half.
The halftime statistics were staggering for Byrd. The Eagles took 13 more shots than East and had 18 offensive rebounds, but trailed by five.
"I thought we started really slow," Wyoming East coach Rory Chapman said. "We talked before the game about starting fast, but it didn't happen for us. I credit RCB a lot with that. They played some of the best defense on us all year."
Foldon did not cool off during the halftime break. If anything, he recharged his battery.
Foldon knocked down three more long balls, giving him six 3-pointers for the game, as East built a 31-19 lead.
Facing a desperate situation, Luke Dyer and Dante' Speas sparked a furious Byrd rally. The tandem brought Byrd all the way back to within three points by the end of the third quarter.
Dyer and Speas kept the heat on to start the fourth quarter. A Dyer layup at the 3:43 mark gave Byrd the lead back at 39-37.
With the game tied at 39, David Carte hit a free throw and Foldon knocked down two more from the charity stripe for a 42-39 Warrior lead.
Dyer answered with a 3-pointer to tie the game, but East was strong from the line down the stretch, building a 48-42 lead with 21 seconds to go in the game.
Byrd was not done, however. Ron Turner came down and nailed a 3-pointer. Then East's Logan Blankenship was fouled and made one shot for a four-point advantage.
Turner buried another 3-pointer to cut the Byrd deficit to one.
Foldon stepped up and made two foul shots to seal the win and send East to the semifinals.
"It was a game of runs and it was sloppy," Chapman said. "We got outrebounded and turned the ball over more than normal, but we were able to hold on and win the game down the stretch from the foul line."
Foldon finished the night with 30 points for East, while Speas had 18 and Dyer added 15 for Byrd.
The Warriors have multiple players who are capable of a big night, and Chapman was not surprised by Foldon's performance.
"I expect R.J. to play tough," Chapman said. "He is our best defender all around, but he has a nice stroke when he gets going and the sky is the limit when he gets going."
Nightly Roundup
Mar 16, 2016 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Wyoming East 5 15 15 16 0 51
Robert C. Byrd 9 6 17 16 0 48
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