Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown defeats Princeton in opening round of state tournament, 58-21

CHARLESTON — The Morgantown girls’ basketball team defeated the Princeton Tigers 58-21 in the quarterfinal round of the WVSSAC Class AAAA girls’ state basketball tournament Tuesday afternoon inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

MHS (21-5) jumped out to a 7-0 lead after the opening two minutes of the first quarter and never looked back, extending the lead to as much as 16 in the first half.

“I thought we got off to a good start today, we got the ball inside-out like we wanted and it worked for us,” MHS head coach Doug Goodwin said. “Once we saw a few shots go down, we settled a little bit and stayed with what we do well.”

After jumping out to an early advantage, MHS slowed down slightly as the Tigers worked their offense and controlled the clock. MHS struggled with the tempo and its scoring slowed, but it enjoyed a 9-4 lead after the first frame.

“They (MHS) took us out of what we wanted to do on the offensive end,” PHS head coach Matt Smith said after the game. “They’re a great team and are well-coached.”

To begin the second quarter, MHS stepped on the pedal and kicked its offense into another gear, using an and-1 play by Sofia Wassick to cap off a 9-0 run for MHS that extended the lead to 18-4 with about four minutes until the break.

MHS had 16 total assists as a team and eight different players scored in the game, with 17 points coming from the MHS bench. The Mohigans forced 23 turnovers on defense and scored 26 points out of them. Senior Kate Hawkins had six steals of a team-total 17.

MHS continued the offense in the second half, scoring 17 and 15 points in the final two frames to close out the game.

MHS senior Lily Jordan led all scorers with 18 points, five rebounds, and a pair of emphatic blocks on the defensive end. Jordan, who seems to be playing the best basketball of her career currently, said the experience she’s gained over the years has made the difference this season.

“They played some relaxed man, and I went into the game knowing I needed to be aggressive,” Jordan said. “I guess it’s safe to say this is the best I’ve played, but it comes from getting older and playing and developing. Not only your physical game, but your mindset as well.”

The Tigers did manage to out-rebound the Mohigans 33-28 on the night, and going into a semifinal game against Spring Valley, MHS will have to crash the boards better to deal with the size of the Timberwolves in the semifinals.

“We have to be more attentive to the ball and where it’s coming off of the rim at times,” Goodwin said. “We stared a bunch today. We have to continue to box out also, but they all know this and know that it’ll need to be better next game.”

MHS advances to play Spring Valley on Thursday at 11:15 A.M. in the semifinal round.

Morgantown 58, Princeton 21

MHS 9 17 17 15 – 58

PHS 4 6 5 6 – 21

Morgantown – Wassick 2 1-1 6 Jordan 7 4-4 18; Henkins 2 0-0 6; Smith 4 0-0 10; Chipps 2 1-2 5; Bechtel 2 0-0 5; Smith 1 0-0 2; Hawkins 2 0-2 6

Princeton – Conner 1 4-4 7; Stull 3 0-0 6; Bane 0 2-2 2; Davis 1 0-0 2; Southers 0 1-2 1; Wright 1 0-0 2; Burner 0 1-2 1

3pt goals – MHS 8 (Henkins 2, Smith 2, Hawkins 2, Wassick 1, Bechtel 1); PHS 1 (Conner 1).

TWEET @dompostsports @ahhh_griff