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Tucker County proves why its No. 1, defeats Hampshire, 70-41

Feb. 7—ROMNEY, W.Va. — Tucker County proved why its at the top of the West Virginia Class A poll, controlling Tuesday's game from the start in a 70-41 win at Hampshire.

The Mountain Lions (13-3) entered Tuesday No. 1 in both the West Virginia Coaches poll and the Associated Press poll.

"I thought we played with energy," Tucker County head coach Daniel Helmick said. "When this team plays with energy, we're really good. It's that simple, we're scoring at a way higher level than we have the last couple years."

Tucker County opened the game with nine unanswered points and never trailed.

"Tucker's a really good team, they shot lights out," Hampshire head coach Danny Alkire said. "I expect to see them in the state championship."

The Mountain Lions scored 25 points in the first quarter and shot 11 of 14 from the field.

"We got kids putting time in during the summer," Helmick said. "Both those kids that were hitting 3s, they're in the gym constantly."

Trevan Bonner was unstoppable in the first half. He scored 10 points in the first quarter and eight in the second.

Bonner made all seven of his shots in the first half. He finished the game 7 of 10 from the field with a game-high 23 points and a steal.

"We kind of spread it a little bit and he got north-south," Helmick said. "When his jumper's going, he's hard to guard because he can blow by. But when he gets going north-south, he's a nice player."

On the other side, the Trojans (5-12) couldn't handle the pressure of the Mountain Lions' defense.

Hampshire only made three field goals in the first quarter and four in the second.

In the first half, Tucker County made 16 field goals. The Trojans attempted 17.

A big reason why was Tucker's relentless defensive pressure. In the first quarter, Hampshire was unable to create a shot on several possessions that lasted well over a minute.

"It wasn't planned, it was just how they played us," Alkire said. "I think it took a minute to try and figure some things out."

The Trojans only attempted six shots in the first quarter.

Hampshire also struggled with turnovers, committing 12 in the first half.

Tucker County only committed nine for the game.

"That's the whole reason we scheduled them," Alkire said. "We knew what style and level they have, you want to be exposed to that."

Jenson Fields and Jordan Gray entered as the Trojans' top scorers. Fields averages 14.2 points while Gray averages 7.8.

The Mountain Lions held them to a combined 13 points. They were held to only two in the first half.

"We know you don't want to let Jenson get much space," Helmick said. "He can shoot it too. So we try and crowd, make it bounce and funnel it to our big guys who contest everything."

Fields led Hampshire with 11 points, all in the second half and he added a block.

Tucker County led 25-8 after one quarter, 40-16 at halftime and 59-28 heading into the final quarter.

"They're a smooth, well-oiled machine," Alkire said of Tucker. "I'm waiting to see their shooting percentage, I guarantee they're in the 70%."

Ethan Rosenau had a big third quarter for the Mountain Lions with 14 points including four 3-pointers.

He finished with 19 points including five triples.

"He's a nice player, if you give him any space, he's a heck of a shooter," Helmick said. "It's on him, he works really hard. It's all he does, he'll probably go somewhere tonight and shoot."

Maddox Anderson, who scored four points, added nine assists and had a steal.

Tucker County reached last year's Class A state title game and will be one of the favorites to return to Charleston, West Virginia next month.

"I don't care if they're single A or not, you look at them and tell me if they're not bigger than most teams in the area," Alkire said. "And play better than most teams, even in Cumberland."

Hampshire hosts Berkeley Springs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Tucker County is at Webster County Friday evening.

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at jkendall@times-news.com.