There was no denying the Hagerstown boys basketball team Saturday night.
The state-ranked, unbeaten Tigers made an emphatic statement in the championship game of the 2013 Wayne County Tournament.
Leading by a dozen at intermission, the Tigers nailed 10 of their first 11 fielders in the second half, then coasted to a 79-50 win over neighborhood rival Lincoln,
In so doing, 11-0 Hagerstown won the tournament for the first time since 2001, while ending a five-game Golden Eagle winning streak, leaving a good Lincoln team at 6-3 on the season.
It was the Tigers’ seventh county crown overall, and their third straight appearance in the title game.
But not even a persistent Golden Eagle team could slow down the balanced Tigers in this game, as the state’s 11th-ranked Class 2A team was in command throughout.
The latest in a series of impressive wins left head coach Bobby Jones happy with his team’s big performance on its home floor in the Robert Clark Gymnasium.
“From day one here (fifth year), it’s been about defense and rebounding,” Jones said after the win. “We also have some guards that can shoot the ball, and bigs that can shoot, so when you defend, rebound and hit shots, you’re very hard to beat.”
Like the Tigers were Saturday night.
Lincoln second-year head coach Rodney Klein agreed with the assessment by Jones of his Tigers.
“They (Hagerstown) shot the ball very well, and when they defend and hits shots, they are a very tough team to play,” Klein said of the victorious Tigers.
Hagerstown scored 27 points in the third quarter in stretching the lead to 59-36 with eight minutes to play.
Tyler Black had 18 points, with Thorin Stage adding 17, Bryan Mathews 12 and junior Jonah McKissick 11 points off the bench.
“There is good team chemistry, the coaches are doing a great job, and we are playing as a team, like a family,” said Mathews after his team received the championship trophy.
The Tigers return to Tri-Eastern Conference (TEC) play Friday at home against Winchester, while Lincoln hosts Tri in a conference game the same night. Lincoln also hosts small school power Union this Saturday.