BECKLEY, W.Va. - The secret to beating Capital, apparently, is to be strong inside.
That's what Huntington did two weeks ago in shading the Cougars, and that's exactly what Lewis County did - to the surprise of more than a few people - in downing Capital 72-63 in overtime Friday afternoon at the Big Atlantic Classic.
John Riley, a 6-foot-4 senior low post, carried the Minutemen with a 25-point, 20-rebound performance as his team led the majority of the game.
Sparked by the play of Riley, Lewis County (7-2) ruled the paint, outrebounding Capital 43-18.
"We've been preaching all year that we've got to rebound the basketball and take care of the basketball, and good things will happen,'' said Minuteman coach Charles Simms. "The kids have worked hard at it.
"We told them we'd have to have 100 percent tonight, and that's what they did.''
Good shooting also sparked Lewis, which made 3 of its 4 shots in OT and shot 55 percent for the game. The Minutemen netted 6 of 6 free throws in the extra period and connected on 75 percent for the game.
Capital (6-2) trailed by five points with a little more than a minute left in the fourth quarter, but got a 3-pointer from the corner by Silas Nazario and, following a steal, two free throws from Carrington Morris to tie it at 59.
The Cougars swiped the ball again after that and held it for the final shot, but Morris misfired on a jumper from the left side and the teams headed to OT.
In the overtime, Riley flashed some of his other skills, as he found Mark Moran with a skip pass for a 3 from the corner to give Lewis the lead for good at 62-61 and later spotted Dylan Gump under the basket for a layup and a 66-63 advantage.
"He's the most unselfish kid I've ever coached,'' Simms said, "and I've been coaching for 29 years. There's not a selfish bone about him. If he gets double-teamed down there inside, he's going to find the open man. And they know he's going to find them because they've been his teammates all their lives. Each knows his role and they're starting to develop those roles.''
Two weeks ago, it was Huntington's Arick Nicks who lit up the Cougars for 33 points and 13 rebounds as Capital lost. On Friday, it was Riley - and the scenario was the same, as Capital was without its only two true post players much of the way.