CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For South Charleston, the one-and-done is long gone.
It took a courageous second-half performance Thursday night, but the Black Eagles forged their way into the Class AAA semifinals with a 48-39 victory over Morgantown at the Civic Center.
Freshman Brandon Knapper came off the bench to score 16 points and SC (24-2), the No. 3 seed, opened the second half on a 12-1 run and never let up defensively against the taller Mohigans and 6-foot-9 West Virginia University recruit Nathan Adrian.
The victory erases memories of first-round state tournament exits for the Black Eagles the last two years.
"It's expected of them,'' SC coach Vic Herbert said of the win. "They play for South Charleston, and South Charleston is a winning program. They know what's expected of them, so they go out and do it.''
The sixth-seeded Mohigans (19-7) led at halftime, riding 12 points from Adrian. In the second half, however, Morgantown couldn't buy a shot, hitting just 20 percent overall, 10 percent on 3-pointers (1 of 10) and 4 of 11 on free throws.
"That's not quite good enough,'' said Mohigans veteran coach Tom Yester. "We had our shots and couldn't seem to get anything to fall. Maybe we were tired. It came down to our inability on offense and certainly not our inability on defense if we hold a team like that to 48 points.''
Adrian finished with 17 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots, but sank only 2 of 9 second-half shots, finishing the game 6 of 20.
While the Mohigans were firing blanks, SC's players decided to buck the odds and take the ball inside despite having only one player taller than 6-1 against a Morgantown team standing 6-9, 6-3, 6-3 and 6-3. And that one SC player, 6-3 Hunter Moles, didn't play after being whistled for a technical foul at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter.
"All year, we've been pounding it inside,'' said SC forward Trevond Reese, "but in the first half we settled for a lot of jump shots. We needed to start penetrating the gaps.
"To start the second half, Rashaud [Kincaid] penetrated a gap and got a floater, and we all knew we could get in there and finish. A.D. [Cunningham] helped us out big. He just played strong in there. He had a rough first half, but that one rebound he got over 6-9 Adrian and holds the ball and goes up strong with him - that's tough. We needed that.''
Cunningham scored eight of his 10 points in the second half and grabbed 11 rebounds. Reese had four steals and pulled down nine tough boards to allow SC to break even off the glass with Morgantown at 36 apiece.
"We've been waiting for this game all year,'' said Kincaid, who knocked down three 3s and scored 15 points. "We know the past two years we've been knocked out in the first round, so we wanted to come in and play with a lot of heart and determination. We knew it would be a tough game because they had a height advantage.''