APPALACHIA — If Coeburn head coach Jeff Adkins had his pick of warm-up tunes for tonight’s Coal Classic championship game, something by “Ten Years After” might be appropriate.
The Blue Knights upended Powell Valley 51-42 Friday night at Appalachia, clinching Coeburn’s first Coal Classic championship game appearance since 1997.
“I think we played Powell Valley down here when Preston (Mitchell) was still coaching,” said Blue Knight coach Jeff Adkins. “We’re back.”
Coeburn advances to face Appalachia in tonight’s 8:30 p.m. championship showdown. The Bulldogs beat Jenkins 58-55 in overtime late Friday night.
Adkins’ son, junior guard Andrew Adkins, paced the Blue Knights with 28 points.
Post Andrew Pate was held to eight points by the tenacious Vikings, but an endgame surge on the boards and a 9-for-10 showing at the free throw line over the final three minutes (mostly Adkins, who went 12-for-12 on the night) carried Coeburn (5-3) at the end.
“They had some good leapers ... a lot of good leapers. We finally figured out how to box out and got some key rebounds when we needed them. We didn’t do well on the offensive end, but their defense had a lot to do with that,” coach Adkins said.
In Friday’s late game, Devin Brickey hit four 3-pointers for Appalachia (6-1), finishing with 17 points. Bud Allen scored 13 points, Tyler Hall scored 11 and Forrest Stuard scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Chris Puckett scored 16 points for the Cavaliers (5-8) with Steven Stevens scoring 12 and Eric Grimm chipping in 10 points.
In other Coal Classic boys action, Rye Cove broke out of a six-game funk with a 55-49 win over Mt. Empire Baptist in consolation bracket play.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Rye Cove coach Justin Seaver after picking up his first career win as a head coach.
“The kids played hard and they really deserved it tonight.”
Brandon Tomlinson, a 6-foot-5 senior center, led the Eagles with 26 points and double-digit rebounds.
“We tried denying him the ball on the inside but he started stepping about eight feet out and he was knocking those down, too,” said Mt. Empire coach Phillip Starnes.
Blake Wyatt, another 6-5 senior center, added 12 points for Rye Cove (1-6).
Andrew King scored 17 points to pace the Mountaineers (5-5) while Parker Stine pitched in 11 and Mike Littleford added 10.
In an earlier game, Dude Overton scored 12 points while Robbie Giles added 11 as Thomas Walker beat Council 65-49. Ryan Scott, Cody Williams and Hagen Hensley added nine apiece for the Pioneers (5-2).
Otto Fletcher scored 18 for the Cobras with Corey Barton contributing 13 .
In girls consolation action the Lady Cobras fared better. Stephanie Cornett fired up 21 points as the Council beat J.I. Burton 50-40. Rashelle Miller scored 15 for the Lady Raiders.
The St. Paul girls got 18 poitns from Lindsey Hall in a 49-43 win over Pound. Lakrisha Issac scored 16 to lead the Lady Wildcats.