Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

CHAMPIONS: Morgantown girls claim Class AAAA state basketball championship

CHARLESTON — The Morgantown girls’ basketball team defeated the Wheeling Park Patriots 54-50 on Saturday morning inside the Coliseum and Convention Center in the capital city to claim the tenth state championship in school history.

In a game that saw nine ties and eight lead changes, MHS used late-game free throw shooting and another strong rebounding effort to beat the Patriots for just the second time in five games this year, with the latest being for all the marbles.

All five starters scored for MHS, including three in double-figures. Junior Lily Jordan had a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Kate Hawkins added 12 points, including a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line, and junior Sofia Wassick added 14 points of her own while collecting eight rebounds.

“Well if that wasn’t exciting, I don’t know what is,” MHS first-year head coach Doug Goodwin said after the state championship victory. “That was a great ballgame between two teams that know each other so, so well. Give them (Wheeling Park) their credit, (Alexis) Bordas had 24 and Lala Woods had 14 and they played well. But these girls (MHS) do a great job and I’m so proud of them I can’t put it into words. After last year it seemed like nothing else would do.”

Morgantown head coach Doug Goodwin reacts after defeating Wheeling Park in the AAAA Championship game on Saturday in Charleston. (William Wotring/The Dominion Post)

Park won the opening tip, but Jordan stole the ball for MHS and raced to the other end of the floor for a layup to open the scoring. The Mohigans opened the game on a 6-0 run as the Patriots failed to register a point six minutes into the contest. Woods scored the next four points for her team though, cutting into the lead to trail by just two after a nervy opening quarter, 6-4.

Bordas, the state Gatorade Player of the Year, only attempted one shot in the first frame, as MHS senior Lindsay Bechtel hounded the sophomore throughout the entire half, holding her to just three points that came on a buzzer-beating shot to end the first half.

“I’ve personally guarded her in ten games now and she’s hard to keep up with,” Bechtel said. “But I have great teammates and know that they’re ready to help anytime so it gives me confidence. She is really tough to guard and she makes me better every game. Hopefully, I made her a little better too.”

MHS built a lead of as many as eight in the second quarter on the heels of the WP drought. However, with the help of four triples from four different players, the Patriots went on a 9-2 run of their own to close the gap to just a single point at halftime, 19-18.

Park would also pick up in the third quarter right where it left off in the second, with Bordas finally coming alive. She scored 14 of her team’s 18 points in the third to will Park to a four-point lead going into the final quarter, 36-32.

“We thought if we won the third quarter we would have a good chance to win the game,” WP head coach Ryan Young said. “Give them the credit, they’re a great team and if we had to lose the title game to someone I’m glad it was Morgantown.”

Morgantown’s Sofia Wassick (2) protects the ball from Wheeling Park’s Seneca Heller (1) in the AAAA Championship game on Saturday in Charleston. (William Wotring/The Dominion Post)

The final frame saw the score tied six separate times, with the final time coming on two free throws by Lala Woods that knotted the score at 47.

On the next possession down the floor, Lily Jordan worked her way into the lane for a layup and a foul to put MHS back ahead by two points, 49-47.

Efficient free throw shooting and rebounding by MHS made the difference in the final quarter. The Mohigans made 10 of 13 from the line in the final frame and 18 for 22 for the entire game. MHS held a 40-26 advantage on the boards also.

“We limited our mistakes today and that’s something we talked about being a key to the game,” Goodwin said. “It’s kind of hard to put into words right now, but I’m sure it will hit me soon. Sometimes you have to just wait for your opportunities and take them when they show up.”

Morgantown claimed its tenth state title in girls’ basketball on Saturday with the victory over Wheeling Park.

Morgantown 54, Wheeling Park 50

MHS 6 13 13 22 – 54

WP 4 14 18 14 – 50

MHS – Wassick 7 0-0 14; Jordan 6 6-9 18; Bechtel 2 4-5 8; Hawkins 2 6-6 12; Henkins 0 2-2 2

WPHS – Bordas 10 2-2 24; Woods 4 5-5 14; Abraham 1 0-2 2; Daugherty 1 0-0 3; Heller 2 1-1 5; Delk 1 0-0 2

3pt goals – WPHS 5 (Bordas 2, Woods 1, Heller 1, Daugherty 1); MHS 2 (Hawkins 2)

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