Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

MHS hosts John Marshall, CB travels to Doddridge as girls begin postseason play

MORGANTOWN — The journey for a state title begins Tuesday as girls’ basketball teams across the state begin postseason play with sectional semifinals.

One team looking to make another run at a title is the Morgantown girls, who finished as last season’s runners-up, losing the Class AAAA state championship 41-36 to Huntington.

“From now on, there’s not an easy out,” said first-year head coach Doug Goodwin. “You’re either prepared or you’re going home.” 

There will especially be no easy outs for the No. 2 Mohigans (18-4) as they play in arguably the toughest section in the toughest region in the state. Only two teams from Class AAAA Region 1 will make it to Charleston, but which two it will be is anyone’s guess.

Morgantown is the No. 2 seed in Section 1 and will host three-seed John Marshall (15-7) Tuesday. The other semifinal will be top-seeded Wheeling Park (20-2), which has been ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the season, against four-seed Brooke (11-10). 

In Section 2, top-seed University (14-7) plays No. 4 Preston (6-16) and No. 2 Bridgeport (13-9) hosts No. 3 Buckhannon-Upshur (12-10).

“It’s not an easy region,” Goodwin admitted. “We’ve got to be prepared for each game no matter what comes up. If we lose, we’re going home and we’re not going to be very happy. And then we have the possibility to go to Wheeling Park. We’ve just got to make sure we’re ready for whatever scenario plays out.”

Before the Mohigans start worrying about sectional or regional finals, however, they first need to get past a young and hungry John Marshall team.

“We’re going to prepare for John Marshall and get ready for that first sectional game because it’s going to be a tough match-up,” Goodwin said. “Our mindset’s still one game at a time. We’re preparing for John Marshall, that’s our only focus right now. That’s who we know we have and that’s what we’re going to do.”

MHS defeated John Marshall 61-40 in their only meeting this season, but it was not as clean a game as the final score might indicate. In the middle quarters of that game, Morgantown struggled against the Monarchs’ zone defense and only outscored JM 18-11.

In that game, JM sophomore Kaitlyn Blake scored a game-high 20 points while freshman point guard Rilee Storm had nine.

In that game back in January, the Mohigans hit nine times from three-point range, something they’ve done better and better as the season has progressed. 

Another strength for Morgantown has been the recent play of center Lily Jordan, who scored 21 points in the team’s penultimate game against Cameron and 19 in the finale against Buckhannon-Upshur.

Clay-Battelle’s Kenley Statler (35) shoots the ball during a game earlier this season. (Benjamin Powell/The Dominion Post)

Clay-Battelle travels to Doddridge

BLACKSVILLE — Also kicking off postseason play Tuesday is the Clay-Battelle girls, who face a tough test at Doddridge County.

The Cee-Bees (8-13) are the four seed in Class A, Region 1, Section 2 and have to play at top-seeded Doddridge County (17-5). The other semifinal in Section 2 is No. 3 Wood County Christian (10-12) at No. 2 Tyler Consolidated (8-14).

The Bulldogs have been one of the best teams in Class A this season and defeated Clay-Battelle 66-32 when the two played in Blacksville earlier this season.

“Doddridge is No. 2 in the state — we’re either going to come out and play or we’re not,” CB coach David Joyce said plainly. “You can’t game-plan to beat them; we’ll put something together but it’ll be the same thing whether it’s the sectional or not. We’ll go out and play our heart out and see where the chips fall.”

The Cee-Bees are not the athletic, high-scoring team the Bulldogs are, usually scoring in the 30s and 40s, but they’re not heading to West Union intimidated.

“We will just go in and play,” Joyce said. “We’ll do better if we’re not worried about the X’s and O’s and just go in and play and the girls have fun.”

The Cee-Bees received 17 points from senior Reagan Darling in their season-finale win over Madonna last week and also have capable scorers in Laikyn Dalton and center Kenly Statler, who scored 30 points in a win over Tygarts Valley earlier this season.

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