LOGAN — Before Chapmanville and Scott hit the hardwood on Friday night for the Class AA Region 4 Section 2 championship game at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena the Lady Tigers and the Lady Hawks already knew they were headed to this week’s regional tourney.
With the WVSSAC’s new playoff system implemented a few years ago, both the sectional champion and runner-up advance to the regionals.
With that said, Friday night’s game amounted to a battle for home court advantage, a trophy, a net and a team picture in the newspaper and on Facebook.
A lot was still on the line, including bragging rights between the two old Corridor G rivals.
In the end it was top-seeded Scott which claimed the sectional championship with a 56-39 victory over the second-seeded Chapmanville Regional High School girls’ basketball team.
The Lady Hawks used a stiffling defense to frustrate Chapmanville, grabbing an early lead, then holding off a resurging Lady Tiger team in the second half.
Both teams are still alive and hope to win its regional tourney games this week and advance to the state tournament, scheduled for March 12-15 at the Charleston Civic Center.
With the victory over Chapmanville and the sectional title, Class AA No. 7-ranked Scott (17-5) is scheduled to host Herbert Hoover (18-6) on Thursday at 7 p.m. in one of the two regional co-championship games.
Chapmanville (14-9) hits the road on Thursday night to play at Sissonville (20-3) in a 7 p.m. contest at Sissonville High School.
The Lady Tigers return to Sissonville, the site of their victory over the Indians in 2011 which propelled Chapmanville into the state tourney.
Sissonville won its sectional championship on Friday night with a 51-44 victory over Herbert Hoover.
Chapmanville and Sissonville split during the regular season.
Scott, which won the rubber game with the Lady Tigers and held a 2-1 seasonal edge, has defeated Hoover three times this season. The Lady Hawks were regular season co-champions of the Cardinal Conference with Sissonville as each had 12-2 league marks.
Scott is back in the Class AA region tourney once again. The Lady Hawks, which beat Chapmanville 31-28 in last year’s sectional semifinals, lost to Tolsia, 46-38, in last year’s sectional finals and were ousted in region play by Nicholas County, 39-29.
Scott went 25-4 two years ago and were state runners-up to Westside, losing 49-46 in the state championship game. The Lady Hawks were also state runners-up in 2011 as Scott finished 18-9 and lost to Summers County, 86-41, in the state finals.
The Lady Hawks continued their dominance over Chapmanville in post-season play. Scott has defeated the Lady Tigers six times in recent years in the sectional tournament with wins over Chapmanville in 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013.
The Lady Tigers last won a sectional championship in 2005, eventually falling to Tolsia, 58-38 in the Class AA regional finals at Williamson.
Chapmanville had advanced to the finals with a 49-30 victory over Tolsia on Wednesday night in the sectional tourney. That put the Lady Tigers into the sectional finals for the first time in three years. Scott was an easy 64-26 winner over Mingo Central on Wednesday at Logan.
Scott coach John Porter said it’s good to be back in the regional championship game. The Lady Hawks and Lady Tigers are both one win away from the Big Dance.
“It’s always nice but we’re going to have a tough one next week with Hoover,” Porter said. “We’re just now starting to play well. We have struggled with Chapmanville. They beat us once this year. It’s a big rivalry with Chapmanville whether it be football, basketball or whatever. We’re improving and we’re playing like we should. We think that we’re talented and we’ve got a lot of weapons. We’ve started to play well the last two or three weeks. It’s up to us now. We’re already beaten Hoover three times this year.”
The game was played before a large boys’ game-like crowd at the field house. Sizable student sections sat on opposite sides of the gym. There were signs, facepaint and lots of support for both teams — just as you would expect for March Madness in West Virginia.
There was even a singing contest of sorts as students on each side went karaoke to Journey’s 1981 classic “Don’t Stop Believin’” which was played over the PA system.
Scott’s fans ended up having the most to cheer about.
The Lady Hawks jumped on top of Chapmanville 14-5 after one quarter and tried to limit touches and the shooting of Lady Tiger senior star player Kristin DesRocher. The 5-foot-9 guard finished with a game-high 17 points but was just 3-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-4 from 3-point land. DesRocher was 8-for-11 from the free throw line.
It seemed whenever DesRocher got the ball, Scott’s zone defense collapsed on her with a double-team. DesRocher got Chapmanville back to within eight points in the second half as she drew many fouls and went to the line. In the third quarter alone, she was a sizzling 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.
But the telling stat was this.
Chapmanville only made 10 field goals for the entire game and attempted 38 for an ice-cold 26.3 percent.
Scott’s tough pressure defense had a lot to do with that.
“In the second half we had a little junk defense on them,” Porter said. “She (DesRocher) is an excellent player but we had foul trouble tonight. That’s been a major problem for us this year.”
Scott was a bit better shooting the ball as the Lady Hawks were 15-for-39 for 38.5 percent.
Scott also got the job done at the foul line, making 24-of-33 for 72.7 percent. Chapmanville was 14-for-25 for 56 percent.
Another difference was on boards as the taller Lady Hawks held a 35-21 edge over the Lady Tigers. Ali Whitman, a 6-foot-2 center and Division I player, led the way with a double-double performance of 16 points and 14 rebounds. She was 10-for-13 shooting from the foul line.
Julie Conway and Maddy Weeks were also key to victory with 11 and 10 points respectively.
“Conway is just back from injury. This is her second game back,” Porter said. “She missed four or five games. She is our key. She’s not an all-star but she is our guts. She will get on the floor and gets bloodied up. Whenever she decides to go, the rest of them follow her.”
Scott also got nine points from 5-4 senior point guard Jaimee Dotson, six from 6-1 forward Andrea Rankin, three points from Courtney Goodwin, three from 6-0 Landyn McKinney and one point from Victoria Ellis. Dotson made all six of her free throw attempts.
Conway added eight rebounds, while Rankin had six. Dotson led Scott in assists with four.
Chapmanville got seven points off the bench from 6-2 center Autumn Blankenship. Lexi Martin had six points on a pair of 3-pointers. Shain Meeks added four points, Abby Marcum and Hillary Hainer had two each and NeNe Osborne had one.
Blankenship led the Lady Tigers on the boards with eight. Meeks and DesRocher had four each.
Osborne also contributed three steals.
Meeks and Conway ended up fouling out.
Scott led by as many as 18 points.
Porter said it’s always difficult to beat Chapmanville. Earlier in the season, the Lady Tigers defeated Scott 49-37 at Chapmanville. Then on Feb. 6 at Madison, Scott squeaked by with a 56-52 win in the rematch.
“It wasn’t easy. I expected it to be nip-and-tuck like it always is with them,” Porter said. “We had a couple of runs and then they would get a couple of runs. We finally then put it away.”
For the Lady Tigers, it’s back to the drawing board.
There is still hope, as a win over Sissonville would put Chapmanville back into the state tournament.
Three years ago, the Lady Tigers did just that and sent the Indians packing.
It was a setback to lose to Scott but it wasn’t the end of the world, CRHS coach David Williamson said.
There is still a light on at the end of the tunnel.
“The girls are torn up in there but I told them we can still go to state,” Williamson said. “It is what it is. Now, it’s time to go to Sissonville next Thursday. We beat them once and then they beat us pretty good. We’re going to have go down there and play our A-game to beat them. That’s the way that it should be to go to the state tournament.”
Chapmanville went 1-1 against Sissonville this season, winning 48-46 at home on Jan. 9 and then getting steamrolled in the second meeting, 62-38, on Feb. 18 on the road.
Williamson said Scott played very well defensively.
“They were trying to take our dribble drive away,” he said. “That’s what Tolsia did too, but they (Scott) are more athletic, are taller and they can jump. They have a 6-2 player (Whitman) and it’s a whole different ballgame. They also have McKinney down there and she is 6-foot and has long arms. We shot only 20 percent in the first half. That just killed us and it dug ourselves into a hole. Then they got hot and they were hard to stop.”
Scott led 14-5 after one quarter. Dotson supplied the Lady Hawks with the nine-point cushion with a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left.
In the second, an 8-2 Scott run pushed the lead to 22-7. A Rankin 18-footer from the baseline and a Rankin putback fueled the run.
Whitman’s 8-foot baseliner then made it 26-10 Scott with 1:39 left until the half.
Chapmanville cut into the deficit with DesRocher’s 3-pointer at the 1:07 mark. She was hacked on the shot and had a chance to complete a rare four-point play but her free throw clanged off the iron.
Martin’s 3 trimmed Scott’s lead to 28-16 but Conway answered with a 3 of her own, giving Scott a 31-16 halftime lead.
Chapmanville came back in the third quarter as DesRocher took the ball to the lane and drew many fouls. She made many free throws as the Lady Tigers cut the deficit to just eight at 40-32 after three. Another 3 by Martin closed the gap to eight with 18 ticks to go.
“We were in the double bonus and DesRocher was getting to the foul line,” Williamson said.
But in the fourth, Scott took it to Chapmanville and drew numerous fouls. The Lady Hawks also took advantage of some costly CRHS turnovers.
“Every possession is so valuable in tournament time,” Williamson said. “Scott is just too good of a team for us to dig ourselves into a hole. We had to match up man-to-man and that really got us out of our style. They took us off the dribble and we fouled.”
With 6:15 left, Whitman completed an old-fashioned three-point play as the Lady Hawks led 45-34.
With 3:23 to go, Whitman netted two more foul shots as Scott’s lead swelled to 52-36.
Just 16 seconds later, Whitman was fouled again and calmly swished two more free throws as Scott led 54-36 — its largest lead of the night.
The game was essentially over by then.
DesRocher saved face by drilling a 3 at the 2:47 mark.
Dotson then put the finishing touches on the win with two free throws with about a minute to go.