Glenville eliminates Shepherd from WVIAC contention
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Glenville had a firm two-prong strategy it wanted to use against Shepherd in a first-round game in the WVIAC tournament.
The Pioneers wanted to swarm around Chad Moore, the league’s leading scorer, any time he received an inside pass. They succeeded in keeping Moore from doing them much harm at the beginning. And then the Pioneers simply survived Moore’s 29 points.
The second part of the Glenville defensive plan had diminutive Kevin Gray, at 5-foot-10, use his quickness to keep Shepherd’s 6-foot-2 Brantley Osborne from finding the kind of three-point shots the Ram junior often beats opponents with.
Osborne had three points at the half and managed only eight shots in all. He had a quiet eight points.
And Glenville, won 88-83, moving to the tournament quarterfinals in Charleston against third-seeded Alderson-Broaddus.
Shepherd sought a racehorse pace, using its full-court press to hurry things and open the court. But the Rams didn’t get the steals they wanted. Glenville’s turnovers were too few, but their drives to the basket for points came too often.
The press quickened the tempo, but Shepherd’s half-court offense was still present and Osborne and Moore were the all-out focus of the Glenville defense.
Austin Cunningham helped the Rams with his 10 first-half points and Moore was fouled so often that he shot 10 free throws in the first half.
Despite making 38 percent of its field goal tries, Shepherd kept close to Glenville’s 41-38 lead with its 12 converted free throws.
A Glenville scoring spurt lifted it to a 66-57 lead with 11:38 remaining. The court was still spread with players and Glenville was still finding the same high-percentage shots.
The foul line became Shepherd’s best friend when it reached the 1-and-1 bonus situation with fully 10:50 to play.
Even getting to the double bonus on Glenville’s 10th foul of the half with 7:30 left couldn’t save the Rams.
Trailing by nine with only 2:34 showing, the Rams made a last charge at the Pioneers. Free throws did most of the shaving as Shepherd got to within 85-83 and had possession with 34 seconds left.
Moore missed a contested runner, and the Pioneers made enough of their own free throws to seal the road victory.
The Rams could possibly have won because they made 31-of-37 free throws. But Glenville’s success against the pressure defense and its five double-figure scorers gave it enough offense to blend with Gray’s defense against Osborne and its seven-rebound edge.
Shepherd saw its season come to an end with the always-present “What could have been’s” waiting to be hashed over and dissected. Meanwhile, Glenville was off to Charleston and the tournament quarterfinals.