Braxton Citizens' News, Sports

Eagles win over Frankfort

Clinches Regional Championship

Braxton plays in State Tournament Thursday

By Shirley Shuman

The Braxton Eagles won 71-56 over a strong Frankfort team in the Region II basketball championship game last Thursday to gain the school’s third trip to the state tournament in the last seven years. All  three came with Coach Josh Lunceford at the helm. The coach discussed the team’s road to this latest success.

“This is my second sectional championship, third regional championship, and the third time taking the boys to the states. We started this season 1-7, then turned it around to finish 7-1 and able to finish our season in Charleston,” Coach Lunceford commented.

“It has been fun watching these kids learn and get better. This wouldn’t have been possible without them accepting their roles on the team, buying into what we are selling, and trusting the other coaches and I. I could not be more proud of them. With this young of a team, seeing this type of success early should mean a very bright future for Braxton County High School,” he added.

In the game, the Eagles started off with a flurry of baskets, including four three pointers and a 24-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. The strong shooting and tough defense allowed Braxton to maintain a large lead through the second quarter and at halftime go into the locker room up 45-22.

The Falcons came out strong in the third to take control of the game in a comeback attempt. Maintaining a stronger defense, Frankfort came up with steals and forced Braxton into turnovers the fans hadn’t seen during the first half. The Falcons pulled within seven at one point and, at the end of the third, the Eagles’ lead was down to nine 53-44.

Fourth quarter action saw Braxton seeing more shot opportunities as they guarded the ball more closely and their defense went back into their first-half mode. The Eagles outscored the Falcons 18-12 in the fourth. Coach Lunceford explained how this all came about.

“We had two really good practices leading into this game. The kids understood their roles and our goals as a team. The first half was executed perfectly, and the game plan we had coming in worked out like we hoped,” the coach said.

Four Braxton players scored in double figures against Frankfort. Leading the team, Stevie Boggs came up with 18 points. Ryken Rutherford added 12, Landon Stewart 11, and Owen Lowther 11. Riley Hunt scored 8, Brady Toler 9, and Jamie Nettles 2.

Braxton will take on #1 Bluefield at 5:30 Thursday evening. Coach Lunceford emphasized that Bluefield is where they are for a reason. “They’re super athletic, very experienced, and extremely well coached. We have to play a very good game to compete!”

See additional photographic coverage on page 9 of this edition of the Citizens’ News.