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Aggressive protection, affected person offense elevate Morgantown to regional championship over rival College

MORGANTOWN — A 15-0 scoring run between the third and fourth quarters was the distinction Thursday night because the Morgantown women’ basketball group punched its ticket to Charleston with a 59-42 win over cross-town rival College on Baker’s Ridge.

The Hawks clawed their manner again from an early 10-point gap to take their first lead halfway by the third quarter, 30-29, on a three-pointer by junior Hannah Stemple. The groups traded baskets and had been tied 32-32 with two minutes left within the quarter.

Morgantown then rattled off the subsequent seven factors and led 39-32 going into the fourth.

“I informed them within the timeout that it ebbs and flows,” MHS coach Doug Goodwin stated. “They had been making their run and we needed to keep affected person. I believe the construct of the season, the schedule we’ve had, these issues helped construct confidence they usually actually calmed themselves down.”

Down seven factors going into the ultimate body isn’t a terrific place to be, however the Hawks had battled again the whole sport. UHS trailed 12-2 after the primary 5 minutes, 22-15 at halftime and 28-20 within the early goings of the third they usually rallied every time.

Within the first two minutes of the fourth, nevertheless, Morgantown’s Paige Smith hit a 3, Kayli Kellogg made a miracle shot whereas sitting on the ground and Sadaya Jones hit one other triple to cap off a 15-0 run that had the Mohigans up 67-32 with solely six minutes left.

Morgantown gamers pose after defeating College on Thursday. (William Wotring/The Dominion Put up)

“It was a defensive lapse,” UHS coach Nick Lusk stated. “We misplaced Sadaya a few instances, misplaced Kellogg, and as soon as they hit these huge pictures it was down from there.”

College’s final push was a 6-point run to chop the lead again to single digits, 47-38, however Morgantown scored the subsequent eight factors to place the sport away.

“We had been affected person,” stated Jones, who led all scorers with 33 factors. “Basketball’s a sport of runs and our group simply needed to be affected person.” 

Jones was the catalyst for Morgantown’s offense on Thursday. In stretches the place the Mohigans couldn’t purchase a basket, Jones was capable of finding methods to attain by both slicing to the basket, placing again offensive rebounds or taking pictures from the skin.

“You needed to let the ball come to you,” she stated of the group working by its offensive struggles. “I simply felt like (Thursday) I used to be on and my group knew I used to be on.”

Whereas Jones was doing the scoring, senior Sofia Wassick was the conductor, meting out a game-high 9 assists.

Morgantown’s Sofia Wassick (2) protects the ball from College’s Hannah Stemple (30) on Thursday. (William Wotring/The Dominion Put up)

The duo was additionally key on the opposite finish of the courtroom, taking part in lock-down man-to-man protection on College’s finest ball-handlers, Stemple and senior Ella Simpson.

“These two younger women can defend like no person’s enterprise,” Goodwin stated. 

Wassick had three steals and compelled quite a few different turnovers.

“She has a unique gear,” Goodwin stated. “The women have a terrific sense of the setting for the sport, which is extraordinarily useful as a coach to have.”

Morgantown’s protection helped construct a 12-2 lead within the first 5 minutes as College struggled to take care of possession of the ball, not to mention make pictures. A timeout from Lusk allowed the Hawks to recalibrate as they went to work revamping their very own defensive effort. 

“I simply informed them we withstood that,” Lusk stated. “We weren’t making pictures and I simply informed them to battle by it.”

The defenses battled within the second quarter because the groups mixed for simply 5 whole discipline targets. 

In distinction, the groups scored 5 discipline targets within the first two minutes within the third as all sides got here out eager to play at a sooner tempo. Morgantown led 28-20 when the Hawks lastly made their run. 

A 3-pointer from Stemple kicked off a 12-4 UHS run that finally led to the 32-32 tie with two minutes left within the third.

A part of the spark for UHS was enchancment on the boards. The Hawks had been out-rebounded badly within the first half however ended the sport even, 24-24. Main the best way for UHS was sophomore Lexi Simpson, who pulled down 9 rebounds.

“I believe she was taking part in for her sister (Ella),” Lusk stated. “She gave us a terrific spark.”

Ella Simpson completed her highschool profession with an all-around effort, ending with 9 factors, 5 rebounds, three assists, two steals and 4 blocks.

College’s Ella Simpson (23) is fouled by Morgantown’s Abigail Paulsen (23) on Thursday. (William Wotring/The Dominion Put up)

“She performed her coronary heart out,” Lusk stated. “That’s typical for her. I simply really feel dangerous I couldn’t get her all the way down to Charleston.

“She wished it, however that’s the best way she is. Her and (fellow senior) Ashlyn (Weaver) have been leaders all season.” 

College started the season with only a 3-8 document as they battled by accidents early within the 12 months. Lusk credit Ella Simpson and Weaver for main the group out of that and to a different part championship and regional look.

“After we went by that dangerous stretch firstly (of the season), they saved everyone collectively,” Lusk stated. “They did a very nice job of main this group.”

Stemple led College with 15 factors. The junior hit the three-pointer that began the Hawks’ run within the third quarter and the three-pointer that gave them their first lead, 30-29.

“She hit some huge pictures and that’s what your big-time gamers do,” Lusk stated. “She and Ella stepped up.

“They performed laborious it was simply (Morgantown) made extra pictures.”

Weaver completed with seven factors, Lexi Simpson had six and Bri Fox scored 4.

For Morgantown, freshman Kayli Kellog was second on the group with 11 factors. She had zero at halftime after scoring 30 within the group’s final assembly with UHS, however was nonetheless contributing as she tied Jones for the group lead with eight rebounds.

“She finds a solution to discover the ball,” Goodwin stated. “That’s the best way with Kayli, Sofia, all of them appear to have a nostril for the place that factor’s coming off (the rim) at instances.”

Morgantown’s Sadaya Jones (5) reacts after a play towards the College on Thursday. (William Wotring/The Dominion Put up)

Paige Smith hit a pair of triples to complete with six factors and Wassick had 4. Freshman Abby Paulsen additionally scored 4. 

Already lacking all-state middle Lily Jordan with an damage, Paulsen was pressured into the sport when beginning ahead Lucie Hatcher picked up two first-half fouls. She responded with a pair of fast baskets and a few rebounds.

“Abby Paulsen got here in and received boards and buckets within the first 30-45 seconds she was on the ground,” Goodwin stated. “All of these are large issues that helped this group construct confidence.”

With the win, Morgantown punched its return ticket to subsequent week’s state event, the place it can play to defend final season’s state title. The Mohigans are the No. 4 seed within the event and can play No. 5 Greenbrier East within the quarterfinal spherical on Tuesday, March 5 at 11:15 a.m.

Morgantown 59, College 42
MHS  14 8 17 20 — 59
UHS 6 9 17 10 — 42
MORGANTOWN — Wassick 2 0-2 4; Kellogg 4 3-3 11; Smith 2 0-0 6; Hatcher 0 1-2 1; Jones 13 3-5 33; Paulsen 2 0-0 4; Howell 0 0-0 0.
UNIVERSITY — Maisel 0 0-0 0; Braham 0 0-0 0; E. Simpson 3 3-4 9; Stemple 5 2-3 15; Weaver 3 0-2 7; Fox 2 0-0 4; L. Simpson 2 2-2 6; Johnson 0 1-2 1.
3-Pt. Objectives — Morgantown 6 (Jones 4, Smith 2). College 3 (Stemple 2, Weaver 1).