Drew Keckley

'Smooth' Drew Keckley makes a strong drive to the rim against Keyser on Thursday night. 

Keckley drops 12 in the 4th quarter to overcome Keyser

SUNRISE SUMMIT — In a physical back-and-forth battle underneath the basket in the first half, ‘Smooth’ Drew Keckley was knocked off his feet driving to the hoop and his lower back smacked off the hardwood and opened a wound. The violent fall forced Keckley to limp off the court and head to the training room with his availability in question for the rest of the game.

“I just tried to keep my composure,” said Keckley.

Once Drew was patched up and cleared to return to the court, Keckley put the team on his back and carried Hampshire to a thrilling 63-60 victory over rival Keyser, scoring 12 points in the final 8 minutes of play.

Keyser led 44-40 entering the 4th quarter, but the return of Drew changed the momentum in favor of the home team.

“We ran a play called Mike, and we executed it well enough where I could get around the screen and get off my man and pull up for a little jumper or drive to the basket,” Keckley explained.

Personal accolades are nice, but Drew was just happy to see his team stop a 6-game losing streak and get a huge victory at home in front of the raucous Hampshire Havoc crowd.

“It just felt amazing. I loved it,” Drew said with a grin.

Keckley led the Trojans scoring 18 total points. Hampshire’s shooting guard Trevor Sardo tallied 15 points, and Seth Eaton dropped in four 3-pointers to finish with 12.

“Seth came in at a time we needed some shots to fall,” said Hampshire head coach Danny Alkire.

“Perhaps his biggest shot was just before the end of the 3rd quarter when he hit a 3 to pull us within 4 entering the 4th.”

Throughout the 4th quarter the two teams swapped leads but Keyser appeared to gain control with 1 minute remaining as they held a 60-58 lead. The Trojan defense buckled down and made Keyser shoot contested shots and forced multiple turnovers which allowed the Green and White opportunities to score down the stretch, and take the lead to eventually win the game.

“They outcoached us, they outplayed us, and they were mentally stronger,” said Keyser coach Johnny Haines postgame.

“It was a lack of mental effort on our part, especially in the 2nd half.”

The final result might come as a surprise considering Keyser mopped the floor with Hampshire the first time they met this season in a 49-34 stomping in Tornado Alley.

So what was the biggest difference between the two games?

“Me,” said coach Alkire.

“We ran press with a man-to-man defense tonight and didn’t use the 2-3 defense which is what we ran in the first game.”

Leading scorers for Keyser were senior PG Ryan Shoemaker with 18 points, P.J. Kennedy scored 16 points, and the big man in the paint Shawn See wound up with 9.

The victory improved Hampshire’s record to 5-7 on the season.

Next up for the Trojans is the Big Atlantic Classic, which starts on Friday, Jan. 30 in Beckley. The Trojans are scheduled to play Woodrow Wilson first with tipoff scheduled for 7:20 p.m. on Friday night. Depending on results, Hampshire will either play University or Greenbrier East on Saturday. o

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