APPALACHIA — The projected starting lineup of the Rye Cove girls’ basketball team isn’t completely intact yet. But that hasn’t prevented the Lady Eagles from maneuvering for a holiday tournament title.
For the second night in a row, Shelli McDavid overcame foul trouble to lead Rye Cove to victory in the Coal Classic tournament at Appalachia Thursday. She scored 13 points as the Lady Eagles beat St. Paul 46-29
McDavid — who sealed a 54-53 victory over Pound with a game winning put-back at the buzzer Wednesday — hit three treys in Thursday’s win.
“This was a lot easier than last night. Pound outplayed us every minute of that game ... except for the last half-second,” said Rye Cove coach Jamie Carter, whose squad will face Appalachia in the Coal Classic girls championship game Saturday at 7 p.m.
Jasmine Carter added 11 points for the Lady Eagles (5-2) while Kayla Gibson and Shasta Edwards added five points apiece.
Edwards, who sat out the first of the season rehabbing her knee, played very sparingly. Even so, she added a 3-pointer to establish that she remains a perimeter threat every time she steps on the floor.
“She’s allowed two minutes a half and I tried to get my two minutes out of her. It’ll take her a while to get into the total game. But I think she’ll always be an offensive threat,” Carter said.
“We need to get her in playing shape. They’ve run her a lot in therapy, but it’s not the same as playing in games.”
The Lady Deacons (2-5) got seven points out of Lindsey Hall with Emily Salyer and Lindsey Dickerson adding five points apiece. St. Paul has struggled to find its chemistry since losing Courtney Evans and Chelsea Arrington to graduation.
“We lost Evans and Arrington was probably as valuable, since she could play in any position,” said St. Paul coach John Davis. “They’re a good team, no doubt about it. They’re a lot better than we are right now. We just can’t shoot. That’s our problem.”
The Appalachia girls clinched their trip to Saturday’s finals with a 49-45 win over Council.
With the Lady Cobras threatening to force the game into overtime, Lauren Howard gave the Lady Bulldogs the lead for good with her bucket in the paint with 10 seconds showing. She added a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining for the final margin.
Howard finished with 12 points for Appalachia (7-1), off to its best start since Roshana Jackson played for the Lady Bulldogs. Becca Estridge scored 13 points while Chelsey Boyd and Brittany Craft added 11 points apiece.
“I hope we can come in Saturday and play against Appalachia decent,” said Carter. “They’re real physical. If they get us into that style of play, we’re liable to get in worse foul trouble than we’ve been the last two nights put together.”
In Coal Classic boys tournament action, Coeburn’s Andrew Adkins hit five 3s en route to 27 points as the Blue Knights rolled to an 84-44 win over Mountain Empire Baptist.
Andrew Pate added 21 points for Coeburn (4-3).
“I think Pate and Andrew got off to a good start and everybody else just followed suit. And that’s exactly what we have to do,” said Coeburn coach Jeff Adkins.
The Blue Knights stroked 10 3-pointers on the night. Pate hit one. Brett Hall hit three on his way to nine points while Jon Dean added another.
Mike Littleford scored 20 points to pace the Mountaineers (5-4), while Mark Wynegar chipped in nine and Andrew King put up seven points.
“We came out and thought we had the right game plan for (Adkins). The first quarter we had a box-and-one and we were able to deny him the ball a few times,” said Mt. Empire coach Phillip Starnes.
“But he had some teammates step up and hit some threes, which forced us to open it up. I don’t think he missed a three after that. It really deflated our guys.”
Coeburn will play Powell Valley at 7 p.m. tonight, while Appalachia takes on Jenkins in the nightcap.