CHARLESTON — The Morgantown girls’ basketball team met the Spring Valley Timberwolves in the Class AAAA semifinals at the state basketball tournament Thursday morning inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
After trailing in the opening minutes, MHS (22-5) hit its stride and eventually built a first-half lead of as many as 14 points. SV (21-5) cut the lead to seven points in the 4th quarter, but MHS used dominant rebounding and solid defense to hold on for a semifinal victory, 48-35, and advance to Saturday’s state championship game.
“We didn’t give up easy transition buckets today, that’s something we wanted to focus on,” MHS head coach Doug Goodwin said after the game. “These girls all work really hard in practice and it shows out there.”
The opening quarter saw some inconsistent offense on both sides, as the two teams combined for just 8 of 24 shooting. The Mohigans held a slight advantage after the first frame, 12-9, behind good defense that caused a few turnovers.
“We have really good communication as a team and we know we will always have extra help on defense from a teammate,” senior Lindsay Bechtel said. “We can switch or we can stay on defense, it just depends. We can usually work it out on the court during the game.”
The second would prove to be a difference-maker for the Mohigans, as they would enjoy an 11-2 run through the first three minutes. Senior Lindsay Bechtel scored 9 of her game-high 19 points in the frame, and Mia Henkins hit consecutive three-pointers to extend the lead to 12 (23-11) with five minutes until the break. MHS outscored SV 15-6 in the second and led 27-15 at halftime.
Out of the break, the Timberwolves collected themselves and found better offense and outscored the Mohigans 13-11 in the third. MHS junior Lily Jordan picked up her third foul just two minutes into the quarter, forcing Goodwin to sit her until the fourth.
Despite the extended rest, Jordan entered the game to begin the fourth and MHS immediately put her to work. She got the ball at the high post and worked her way into the paint to extend the lead to 12. Jordan scored seven of her team’s 10 points in the fourth. She said the key to re-entering the game after sitting for a while is a matter of staying focused on the game without being on the floor.
“It’s all about staying locked-in on the game and what’s going on,” Jordan said about saying prepared when on the bench. “Keep the feel for what’s happening on the floor and then be ready to execute when you get back in the game.”
MHS outrebounded SV 40-24 in the game, including 17 on the offensive side. MHS junior guard Sofia Wassick grabbed a team-high nine and dished six assists as well.
Wassick, who only scored two points on eight shots, said when her game isn’t there offensively, she knows she can affect the game in other ways.
“Shots aren’t always going to fall, so it’s important to find other ways to contribute,” she said. “Rebounding was there for me today and finding my open teammates.”
MHS scored 18 points in the paint and enjoyed 21 points scored off of 10 turnovers by SV, while also hitting five triples, on its way to a 48-35 semifinal victory over Spring Valley.
Morgantown advances to play in the Class AAAA state championship Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. against Wheeling Park, who defeated Spring Mills 59-51.
Morgantown 48, Spring Valley 35
MHS 12 15 11 10 – 48
SV 9 6 13 7 – 35
MHS – Wassick 1 1-4 3; Jordan 5 3-5 13; Bechtel 6 5-6 19; Sweeney 1 0-0 3; Henkins 3 0-0 8; Hawkins 0 2-2 2
SV – Crum 3 6-7 12; Hallie 3 1-3 12; Ellis 1 0-0 2; Parker 2 0-0 5; Daniels 2 0-1 4
3pt goals – MHS 5 (Henkins 2, Bechtel 2, Sweeney 2); SV 2 (Hallie 1, Parker 1).
TWEET – @ahhh_griff @DomPostSports