Top-seeded Shade got out to a slow start against No. 8 McConnellsburg during Thursday’s District 5 Class A playoff opener.

But once Shade (23-1) got rolling, there was no stopping the Panthers.

Shade overcame an early six-point deficit, built a 13-point halftime lead and then scored 29 third-quarter points en route to a 78-49 victory over the Spartans (7-16).

“We were missing some wide-open looks,” Shade coach Wade Fyock said, referring to McConnellsburg’s 9-3 advantage midway through the opening quarter. “We started hitting those shots in the third quarter and that was the difference in the game.”

In fact, Shade started hitting them in the second quarter, outscoring the Spartans 19-6 to lead 33-20 at intermission. The third quarter provided the knockout.

The Panthers made 11 field goals in the third, with four 3-pointers. Shade tallied 29 points in the quarter and led by as many as 30 points, 58-28 with 2:16 showing.

“We knew we had to play better defense. We didn’t execute in the beginning,” said Shade senior leading scorer Ryan Fyock, who had 27 points with four 3-pointers.

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Fyock tallied six first-quarter points on only one field goal. As his jumpers began to fall, the Panthers began to roll.

“It helped that I started knocking down a couple shots. That got my confidence up,” Ryan Fyock said.

Wade Walker, a 6-foot-5 senior, had 13 rebounds and two blocked shots to go with his 14 points.

“It was tough,” Wade Walker said. “They put me to work. I felt like I had two or three guys that I had to try to get around. It helped that I was about 4 inches taller than everyone. They made me work real hard, so credit them.”

Brock Medva netted 16 points for Shade, with a pair of 3-pointers. Nash Walker had 10 rebounds and eight points.

Ryan Fyock made all seven of his free throws, and Wade Walker went 4 of 5 from the line as Shade finished 16 of 19 overall.

“We shot well from the foul line, 16 of 19,” Wade Fyock said. “I was disappointed with our overall effort defensively, but we came away with a win and that’s always a positive.”

Tyler Green’s 24 points led McConnellsburg. Jessie Swope had 10.

Shade will play Berlin in the semifinals. The No. 4 Mountaineers beat No. 5 Rockwood, 55-26.

“Coming in as the No. 1 seed, it feels good, but it’s also a scary feeling because we might think we’re better than we are,” Wade Walker said. “We came out and took care of business.”

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