MORGANTOWN — University’s first state tournament appearance in 10 years looked promising for 2 1/2 games.
But the No. 3-seeded Hawks couldn’t summon enough momentum to stop No. 1 Parkersburg from repeating.
A fourth-quarter fade saw a back-and-forth game turn into a 63-52 win for the Big Reds.
The Hawks led by seven points in the first quarter, by two at half, and on several occasions in the third quarter.
“I thought we were ready for the game and then they started making shots and we felt physically exhausted. We had already had a hard game the night before, and it was an even harder game tonight,” said Ashten Boggs.
The momentum flip began with the last possession of the third period: Boggs was cutting to the basket on an inbounds play when she collided with Parkersburg’s Breanna Wilson. In the ensuing chaos, the Big Reds grabbed the ball and raced downcourt for buzzer-beater layup to extend their lead to 41-37.
Boggs was slow to stand after aggravating a hip pointer injury.
“It’s something I’m used to, so I can deal with it. I wasn’t coming out of the game,” she said.
Boggs returned to start the fourth quarter, but the fall may as well have been symbolic of the loss of the spark that had driven the Hawks to that point – they converted just 1-of-7 shots to open the period as Parkersburg increased the gap to 15 points.
“Offensively, we struggled down the stretch,” University coach David Price said. “We didn’t get the looks I wanted us to get.”
Price saw his team run out of gas following a strenuous three-day stretch that saw the Hawks play three games, including a physical six-point semifinal victory against Greenbrier East which saw University shoot 32 free throws.
Parkersburg, meanwhile, had the extra luxury of an off-day Thursday; their opening-round game was slotted on Wednesday, giving them nearly 48 hours to rest before semifinal action.
“I think it was just the gamut of all those games one day after another — eventually, we just ran out, and Parkersburg proved why they’re a state championship team,” Price said.