FAIRMONT — Slow starting Robert C. Byrd snapped a 4-4 tie with an 11-1 run to close out the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 57-25 victory over East Fairmont in Big 10 Conference girls basketball action at East Fairmont High School.
The Class AA No. 6 Eagles raised their record to 11-3 with the victory, while the youthful Bees fell to 4-10.
Senior guard Sarah Barksdale led the charge for RCB with 20 points and seven steals, while senior forward Alicia Noble contributed 15 points despite sitting out a great deal of the first half with two fouls.
Sophomore center Shayla Hinterer added seven points and nine rebounds, while freshman guard Corin Todd added seven points and five assists.
“I thought once we got through that shaky start, we played pretty good,” RCB coach Dennis Hutson said. “We missed some easy stuff early on, but once we settled in, we were O.K.”
East Fairmont took the early lead when Felicity VanGilder followed up a missed shot 20 seconds into the contest and the Bees tied it at 4-4 when Brooklyn Weaver connected on two foul shots at the 3:39 mark.
But Noble countered with two free throws 9 seconds later to start and 11-0 run which was capped by Samantha Buffey’s jumper out of the right corner with :55 left in the quarter.
Larissa Vincent hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Bees with 16 seconds left to make it a 10-point game heading into the second quarter — a quarter that only got worse for the Bees.
The Eagles forced East into seven turnovers and held them to 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) shooting from field in outscoring them 13-2.
Hinterer, Barksdale and Todd all had baskets to start the run which led to a football-like, 28-7 score at the intermission.
RCB build the lead to 30 points (43-13) when Barksdale hit a jumper and the Eagles eventually led by as many as 35 points (57-22) when Hannah LeMasters hit two free throws with 2:10 to play.
“I want to tell you, that’s an excellent team we played against tonight,” veteran East Fairmont coach Bill Malone said. “But we still should be able to do more than we did.
“We need to play smarter and with more patience.”
Weaver led the Bees with eight points and added five rebounds, while Melissa Meluzio contributed six rebounds.
Robert C. Byrd held a big advantage on the boards at 44-25. The Eagles also forced East into 23 turnovers and held the Bees to just 19.5 percent shooting (9-of-46) for the game.
“I thought we did O.K. defensively,” Hutson said. “We’re 11 and 3, and that’s the best we’ve been through 14 games since I’ve been here and that’s a credit to the hard work these girls have put in.
“But we’ll have to keep that up because we’ve got two tough games with Preston and North Marion coming up.”
Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 304-626-1444 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org