WILLIAMSON — The No. 1 seed Lenore Rangers led the No. 2 seed Williamson from start to finish in the Mingo County Championship game on Saturday afternoon at the Williamson Fieldhouse and defeated the Wolfpack by a final score of 47-34.
The win for Lenore gives them their third straight Mingo County title as they defeated Burch in the title game a year ago and knocked off rival Kermit in 2019.
“It’s hard to talk without crying,” an emotional Ranger head coach Eric Davis said after the win. “This is a great group of kids. They’ve been together since they’ve been little and have worked their butts off every year. They deserve what they got here today...they are just a special group.”
Lenore jumped ahead to a 7-0 lead to start the game after a bucket by 6th grader and held an 11-3 lead after one quarter of play.
After a three-pointer from Lenore guard Devon Maynard gave the Rangers a 14-6 lead, the ‘Pack gained some momentum as Nick Savage drilled a long three-pointer and was fouled in the process to bring the score to 14-9 with 2:30 left in the first half.
The two teams traded baskets in the final minutes of the quarter as Joey Gollihue took over for the Rangers but Matt Hatfield sank a pair of free-throws in the closing seconds to bring the Wolfpack deficit to 20-14 at the break.
After a basket by Brice Hagy brought Williamson back within six at 25-19 midway through the third, the Rangers put their foot on the gas pedal and dominated the rest of the stanza taking a 33-21 lead into the fourth after a layup by Gollihue to end the third.
In the final quarter coach Larry “Giddle” Johnson’s squad never got the deficit below nine as the experienced Ranger squad made the plays down the stretch to secure the 13-point win.
Gollihue had a huge game for the red-and-white as he scored a game high 21 points while also ripping down 11 rebounds, blocking five shots, and dishing out five assists.
Bryson Elia joined him in double-figures with 12 while May tallied six, Ashton Davis notched five points and nine rebounds, and Maynard rounded out the scoring column finishing with three points.
For the Wolfpack, Hatfield was the lone bright spot as he netted 15 points, 10 in the 4th quarter, before fouling out with just under a minute to play.
Isaiah Elia was next with seven points, Savage totaled six, Brice Hagy netted four, and 6th grader Quentin Warren finished with a bucket.