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Defending champion Radford escapes Wise Central in OT

Kevin Mays • Mar 7, 2020 at 12:01 AM

SALEM — Radford coach Rick Cormany has been around long enough to know when a high school basketball team is good and when a team is lucky.

The five-time state champion coach admitted his team was a little of both after the Bobcats took a 58-52 overtime win over Wise Central in the VHSL Class 2 boys quarterfinals Friday at Roanoke College’s Cregger Center.

“To be honest with you, and I’m not saying this to put my kids down or anything, I don’t know how we’re here,” Cormany said. “I really just don’t know how we’re here. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are resilient, they like each other, they like being around each other and they just weren’t ready for the season to be over.”

Radford (24-3) showed its resilience throughout the game and over the final two minutes of overtime, during which it outscored the Warriors 7-3 to break a 49-49 tie and take the win.

“This was a battle. My hat’s off to Central Wise. Goodness gracious, they fought, they scratched, they fought. They never quit,” Cormany said. “I don’t know how we got through this, I really don’t. I just think somebody was going to win the game and it just happened to be us. It could have been either one.”

Powered by Cam Cormany’s 27 points, Radford held as much as a 10-point lead but could never put away the Warriors (20-9).

Central countered with senior Isaiah McAmis’ 29 points and solid team play from a variety of players. Elijah Hayes, on the court where he intends to play his collegiate basketball, finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

Isaiah McAmis and Hayes are among seven Central seniors who enjoyed the most successful season in school history.

“Our guys fought hard,” McAmis said. “Props to Radford. They’re a great team and they’re well coached. They’re the defending state champs for a reason.

“We just didn’t have enough at the end.”

SO VERY CLOSE

With the game tied at 44, Central had a chance to win in regulation but missed two shot attempts before the buzzer. Hayes grabbed the rebound off the second miss and put up a shot that went in, but it came after the final buzzer sounded.

“I don’t know,” Hayes said when asked if he released the shot before or after the buzzer. “I wasn’t really looking (at the clock), I was just watching the ball. And then we missed a few layups and then I got it and I knew the time was close, so I just threw it back up.”

DOWN TO THE WIRE

Central led only once in the game. McAmis hit two free throws with 1:41 left in regulation to give the Warriors a 44-42 lead. On the other end, Alex Kanipe nailed a shot to answer and tie the game at 44.

Overtime saw two more ties before Radford took the lead for good at 51-49 off a basket from Kanipe with 1:22 left in the extra period.

THE END OF AN ERA

The loss marked the final game as a coach for Central’s T.J. McAmis.

McAmis has spent the past 20 years as a head coach, a stretch that encompassed stints at Central, J.J. Kelly and Twin Springs. He’s transitioning into school administration.

“It’s very tough as a father and a coach,” Coach McAmis said. “All these boys are like my kids, so it’s very tough. I love them. And I appreciate the ability to be able to coach these many years.”

FAMILIAR FOES

Radford will host Gate City on Tuesday in the Class 2 semifinals at either Roanoke College or the Salem Civic Center.

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