Center stage is exactly where every basketball team wants to be come March. This past week was a very important one for five county programs that were looking to put themselves in the record books.
On the girls side Lincoln and Bridgeport were in Charleston competing for a state title. The Cougars had defeated the Indians to earn the sectional title and both squads took care of business in regional play to earn the right to compete for the crown.
Lincoln picked up its 19th win of the campaign in the opening round with a 59-55 win over North Marion. The Huskies had won the previous two regular season contests by an average of twenty points. However, the Cougars proved just how hard it is to defeat a team three times in a season. Sophomore Hope Bray was the difference maker down the stretch hitting three free throws and grabbing a big offensive rebound to put the game on ice. Bray’s stat line was rather impressive as she poured in a game high 29 points, hauled down a game high 14 rebounds, recorded four steals, and blocked a game high three shots. Megan Earnest scored eight points and collected 13 caroms. Josie Payton had four points and 13 rebounds in the win.
Bridgeport suffered a 66-60 overtime loss to Class AA runner up Fairmont Senior. The Indians had a free throw attempt that didn’t fall that would have given them the win. The Polar Bears won a pair of lopsided contests during the regular season but that did not deter the Tribe from playing inspired basketball that nearly led to an upset.
Quinn Stalnaker had 15 points and 15 rebounds. Kaitlin Smith came off of the bench to score 15 points that included four three pointers. Hannah Fetty had 10 points while Gianina Renzelli had seven points, five assists, and four steals. The Indians finished the season with a 16-8 mark.
Lincoln lost to Fairmont Senior 65-35 in the semi finals on Friday. Hope Bray recorded nearly half of her team’s points (17), hauled down six boards, swiped three steals and blocked two shots. The Cougars ended the campaign with a 19-6 record.
In boy’s action, a trio of teams punched their tickets to Charleston. On Wednesday, both Bridgeport and Robert C. Byrd earned wins that propelled them to the state tournament. Bridgeport ran by Keyser 83-54. Nick Greely netted a game high 21 points and pulled down six rebounds. Hunter Haddix earned the start and responded with a double double. Haddix had 16 points and 11 rebounds. John Wilfong chipped in with 12 points and six caroms.
The Flying Eagles shook off the effects of a lengthy trip to Frankfort and a pesky Falcons squad to claim a 53-46 win. Devonti Birch collected a game high 17 points and seven rebounds. Justin Noble had a double double scoring 13 points and hauling in a game high 15 rebounds. Noble also swatted three shots. Cameron Carvelli netted 13 points and dished out three assists.
On Thursday, Notre Dame earned a trip to the state’s capital with an 84-62 victory over Pocahontas County. Noah Bohanna had a game high 19 points and a team high five rebounds. Jarrod West scored 14 points and dished out team high six assists. Phil Chafin added 13 points and five assists.
Let’s hope that the third time is indeed a charm for all three squads. This is the third consecutive year that the three above-mentioned programs (Bridgeport, Robert C. Byrd, and Notre Dame) have made it to the state tournament. Could this be the year that another championship is brought back to Harrison County?
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!