20200115-pih-shooters

Wyoming East’s Hannah Blankenship (42) converts a free throw in the Warriors’ victory against Westside on Jan. 3 at the Armory in Beckley. Blankenship has 21 points, going 6 of 6 from 3-point range.

BECKLEY — A pair of area shooters found their range in a facility that doesn’t often render great shooting nights to players who don’t play regularly in the 58-year-old gym.

Hannah Blankenship helped lead Wyoming East to a big win over county rival Westside and Independence’s Jared Cannady helped the Patriots to a pair of wins in the New River Community and Technical College Basketball Tournament.

Both have roots in Wyoming County.

Cannady transferred to Independence from Wyoming East as a freshman.

The Armory is often a place where scoring averages go to die, with the deep background especially on the exit end — and it’s not strange to see good shooters struggle.

The recent New River CTC saw many scoring averages nose dive over the course of the three-day tournament.

Blankenship and Cannady survived the purge and actually raised their averages with two of the better performances in the tournament.

Blankenship, in a rivalry game and an important game in the seeding process, came out hot against Westside and never cooled off. She was 6 of 6 from 3-point range against the Renegades.

“I’ve had a couple of nights where I was really confident in my shot,” Blankenship, a junior, said after the performance. “Today I came out here and they were falling for me and I just kept shooting. I think yesterday (Thursday, Jan. 2) really helped me. I was really struggling with my shot and it really helped me today.”

They were also falling against Independence when she was 5 of 8 from 3-point range and she was 3 of 5 on Thursday against Oak Hill. Anyone would take a 14 of 19 week from 3-point range (73.6% season (54%)).

Cannady had a huge night for the Patriots, hitting eight 3 pointers, seven during a first-half blitz as Independence beat Nicholas County 86-81. Cannady had a career-high 37 points.

Cannady had three 3s against Pocahontas but had 25 points, giving him 62 points in the tournament.

In a win against Mount View, which improved the Patriots to 5-2, he had five more and leads the area with 30 3s.

Cannady has a routine.

“Honestly, I take a few 3s in the beginning of the game, and like tonight (vs. Pocahontas, when he had three 3s) if I miss a couple, I take a few steps in and try to get myself going before I take a bunch of 3s,” he said.

Cannady got going early against Nicholas and never really had to step inside the arc, especially in the first half. He has 13 3s in the last two games.

The Patriots host Oak Hill on Friday night.

Three area players passed the 1,000-point barrier in the past week.

  • Tommy Williams of Shady Spring went over 1,000 in an easy 90-45 win over James Monroe. He had 16 but didn’t play in the fourth quarter in the lopsided win.
  • Bluefield’s Braeden Crews scored 22 in a 60-50 loss to top-ranked Chapmanville when he surpassed the 1,000 point barrier.
  • On the girls side, Summers County’s Taylor Isaacs, a junior, surpassed 1,000 points against Tug Valley last week.