The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
At first glance a 24-2 record would be just reason to celebrate. There are several basketball programs that have never sniffed such numbers and they would be pleased to reach this outcome.
However, for the Lincoln girls basketball team this lofty record wasn’t what they were looking for in the end. As a matter of fact, the Cougars were the first team in the state to reach 20 wins and were only two games away from a perfect regular season. Head Coach Rob Hawkins and his girls finished strong and nabbed two seed in the State Tournament where they would face familiar foe Grafton. These teams faced off three times previously with all of them going to the Cougars. The last was a 25 point win in the sectional final and after a win over Keyser; these squads would square off one final time.
The opening quarter of the opening round game showed signs of history yet repeating itself as Lincoln took a 21-14 lead after one period of play. The Bearcats would regroup and outscore the Cougars 20-6 taking a seven point lead into halftime. It was also crucial for the Cats’ confidence level and it put them over the top as they would ride that momentum to the win.
Hope Bray led the Cougar attack scoring 18 points, grabbing several rebounds, recording three steals and blocking a shot. Jade DeBerry added nine points, six rebounds, and four assists. Gracey Lamm chipped in with five points and four assists. Halie Hardman (seven points) and Azleee Barnard (five points) also had strong efforts in the loss.
The premature end to this season is frustrating to those closest to the program. The goal was to earn the Class AA crown and they were more than qualified to get the job done. Even though the outcome wasn’t what was desired it was still a season to remember. There were many memories made and with the talent returning next year, there is sure to be more made.
The Notre Dame girls team was one win away from a trip to the Class A finals. The Fighting Irish opened up the tournament with a 51-29 win over Tucker County. It was the fourth time these teams had squared off and the first time Notre Dame would win.
Notre Dame closed both halves strongly to earn the victory. They outscored the mountain Lions 20-9 in the second quarter and 14-3 in the fourth frame to walk away with the win.
Hannah Griffith led the Fighting Irish with 18 points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots, and three assists. Rachel Rogers chipped in with seven points, eight rebounds, three steals, and a pair of assists.
Notre Dame’s season came to an end as they lost to Gilmer County 47-41 in the semifinal on Friday. Clare Cistaro paced the Fighting Irish with 15 points (including three, three pointers). Hannah Griffith netted 14 points and pulled down nine caroms. Rachel Rogers turned in another solid performance with seven points, eight rebounds, seven steals, and five assists. Notre Dame finished the season with a 17-8 record.
Speaking of a frustrating ending, WVU suffered one in last Saturday’s second half and to the Big 12 Tournament. The Mountaineers took a one point lead into the locker-room at the break. Kansas came out in the second half and went on a run that the Mounties could never fully come back from.
The effort was there in the second half and so was the strong play from Devin Williams. The issue was that outside of Williams no one could consistently score the ball. Williams was the only “EER” to find double digits. Williams recorded a career high 31 points and hauled down a game high 10 rebounds.
WVU’s shooting woes (2 of 15from three point range) kept them from making their valiant comeback attempt complete. Neither the large crowd (that was pro Kansas) nor the frustrating shooting night would keep the Mountaineers from putting out maximum effort which will help this squad navigate the brutal NCAA Tournament.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!