CUMBERLAND - One loss, two losses, three losses, four losses, then five losses in a row - it’s just too many.
That’s where Keyser stood heading into their matchup against Fort Hill in Cumberland on Friday. Thanks to an inspired and solid performance, the streak stopped at five games and the Golden Tornado is now back into the win column after topping the Sentinels 61-51.
Keyser won all four quarters of the contest. In the first, the Black and Gold held a 17-15 advantage. In the second, the edge went to Keyser 12-7 to give the Tornado a seven-point, 29-22 lead at the half.
Both second half quarters were close, but Keyser edged Fort Hill 16-14 in the third quarter and 16-15 in the fourth quarter to earn the 10-point, 561-51 win, their first since December 21.
The difference this time? According to Keyser coach Johnny Haines, getting off to a fast start for a change, and consistent free throw shooting impacted the game in Keyser’s favor.
“For a change, we finally came out and scored some points in the first quarter, and basically then led the whole way. We had some consistency on offense and played well. We had a few good practices, and had a few chats within the program. I think they’re coming together as a team and playing real hard for each other,” Haines details.
According to Haines, “I’ve been looking, and in the last couple of games, we’ve been consistent at the free throw line. That kept us in the Moorefield game a little bit, and earlier it’s probably what won us the Frankfort game, and helped us win the Fort Hill game as well.”
Keyser connected on 19 of 24 free throw attempts in the win.
The Golden Tornado were led by Noah Broadwater with a game-high 22 points, followed by Mike Schell with 11 points. In addition, Alec Stanislawczyk and Jacob Weinrich tallied six points each, Lonnie Pridemore and Sammy Bradfield five points apiece, Seth Healy four points, and Hunter Van Pelt two points.
Haines credited the entire team with a solid performance, but highlighted Noah Broadwater and Mike Schell for their points production, and Sammy Bradfield with a great night of rebounding.
“Noah is getting back to his play, he had 22. Also, Mike Schell, he had 11, so he got gone inside for us a little bit. Then there are the stats that don’t show up, Sammy Bradfield, I think he had 14 rebounds for us. We’re getting to the free throw line and making them.”
In the loss, Fort Hill was led in double figures by Bryce Schadt with 20 points, and Anthony Burns with 15 points. In addition, Logan Mullery added nine points, Tavin Willis four points, Jacob Tichnell two points, and Garrett Lepley one point.
It was a win for Keyser a long time coming, and the hope is that momentum will carry them in a positive direction moving forward.
“The win was needed for the whole program. Obviously, when you lose, it’s no good and you get frustrated with everything. But, when you get into the win column, after the game, the kids are smiling and excited. The team morale just makes everyone feel good and makes you want to play even harder. Hopefully, we’ll keep this feeling up for this week,” Haines explained.
According to Haines, “It’s always tough to win down there. Obviously, myself and Coach Burner at Fort Hill are good friends. They’ve beat us some, so it’s great to go down there and get the win. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a Maryland team or a West Virginia team, it’s just good to be on the winning side.
Keyser (5-6) has a home game against Mountain Ridge on Tuesday, then travels to Berkeley Springs on Friday for a key sectional matchup.
This article originally appeared on Mineral Daily News-Tribune: Stopping the Streak: Keyser tops Fort Hill 61-51