Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown girls’ basketball team falls again at Wheeling Park in regional final

By Josh Strope, Wheeling Intelligencer

WHEELING — Wheeling Park is headed back to Charleston.
There is an old saying that “it is hard to beat a team three times in one season,” and that definitely held true Tuesday night at the Palace on the Hill.
But Wheeling Park showed its toughness in the fourth quarter, hit big shots, forced key turnovers and made its free throws to earn a hard-fought 44-35 victory against Morgantown to earn a spot in next week’s state tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
It is the third-straight season the Patriots (18-5) qualified.
“We definitely have had some shaky times this year, but in the past month, we started practicing a little better, starting gelling a little bit better, and I think we are playing well at the right time,” Wheeling Park coach Ryan Young said. “We didn’t have our best game in the sectional final, and I thought we would come back and play well.
“I give Morgantown a ton of credit. They played a great basketball game. It was a great basketball game. Good, playoff basketball. Both sides had a lot of energy, and both sides did enough to win. We just made a couple more plays in the end than they did.”
Park swept the season series against Morgantown (14-11), but the Mohigans didn’t make it easy.
Every time the Patriots felt they were pulling away, the Mohigans would storm right back in it.
Case in point: Early in the fourth, with Park holding a 31-24 lead and the basketball, Shanley Woods missed a 3-pointer that would have given Park a commanding double-digit lead.
Instead, it was Morgantown’s Kaitlyn Ammons that hit a 3-pointer on the other end, a six-point swing.
The Mohigans closed to within one point at 32-31 following a Madison Seman basket midway through the fourth.
Woods came up with a big 3-pointer to stretch the lead to four points with 4:24 showing.
Kerrington Peasak banked in a shot on the other end to bring it back to one possession.
On the ensuing Park possession, Bella Abernathy drained a shot from the top of the key to make it 37-33.
It was the last field goal scored by either team.
Morgantown had chances to cut into the lead but missed multiple shots, despite good looks at 3s.
“They weren’t exactly the greatest shots we’d like to be running at that time, but you can’t be picky as the clock is coming down like that,” Morgantown coach Jason White said.
Wheeling Park kept Morgantown at bay with solid free-throw shooting. During the final minute, the Patriots went 6 of 10 at the line, including hitting the front end of three 1-and-1s.
“We had a pretty good game plan, and I thought we executed it really well,” White said. “It just seemed like every time we needed a bucket after we closed the gap, we’d turn it over. Untimely turnovers shot us in the foot. But I am proud of my kids. They are disciplined and their attention to detail, their focus this week was good. We knew it was going to be a tall task.”