‘Jills Win Two Over Hornets In Back-Yard Brawl
The final game of the season before the girls’ sectional basketball tournament pitted the Lady Hornets of Hundred High School against their Wetzel County rivals, the Valley Lumberjills, in Hundred, Feb. 16, in a thrilling 50-44 win for Valley.
Celebrating senior night, Hundred tallied the game’s first bucket on a rebound put-back by 6’1 Katie “The Terminator” Tennant. After a Lumberjill turnover, Tennant dished off an inbound pass to Raven McDiffitt for another bucket and a 4-0 lead.
After a Chelsea Underwood deuce, Tennant hit the offensive boards and got a jumper, but was fouled on the shot. She finished the job with an old-fashioned three-point play and shortly afterward added another rebound put-back to springboard Hundred to a 9-2 advantage.
The ‘Jills Leah “Bam-Bam” Morris then sank a rebound put-back of her own, but McDiffitt quickly added two more points on a pair of freebies. Morris followed an Emily Ebert deuce with another twoball and Brittany Guthrie drained a basket from beyond the arch to give the visitors their first lead of the game, early in the second period, 14-13.
Both teams traded buckets, highlighted by a Morgan Starkey three pointer from the top of the key for Valley and a dazzling two pointer by the Hornets’ Cheyenne Myers to close the ‘Jills’ advantage to 26-24 at the half-time buzzer.
In first-half action, Tennant had eight blocks and 10 rebounds to go along with six points to pace the Hornets, while Morris paced the ‘Jills with nine points and four boards.
In the second half, Tennant swatted away a Lumberjill shot and then put one back off a team-mate miss to tie the game. A pretty Ebert-to-McDiffitt dish and basket gave the hosts the lead back. But the ‘Jills’ Tiffany Hayes followed up with a basket and a foul shot while Guthrie nailed her second basket from beyond the arch to give Valley the lead back.
McDiffitt swished a pair of freebies and netted a driving bucket to put Hundred back on top. However, Morris was up to her old tricks and tallied a deuce, whereupon Lady Hornet Mercedes Goff tickled the twine from Knob Fork.
Hayes went into friendly territory to save a loose ball, but landed hard in the seats and had to leave the game with an injury. Shortly afterward, Morris made a nice play going to the floor and calling a time out to set up a three pointer by teammate Megan Bucher when play resumed to give Valley a 37-35 lead heading into the final period of play.
Both teams played hard but, down the stretch, costly Hundred miscues and a Guthrie two pointer highlighted a gallant Valley comeback and a disappointing Hornet loss.
For the ‘Jills, Morris and Guthrie each contributed 11 points, while Starkey and Hayes teamed for 17 points. Bucher scored five points; Underwood put up four markers; and Heidi Shaw added two points. Guthrie and Morris each added a double-double with 10 steals and 10 boards.
For the Hornets, McDiffitt tallied a game-high 19 points, including 5-5 at the charity stripe and hauled in six boards. Tennant recorded her second triple-double of the season with 10 points, 17 rebounds, and one blocked shot. Goff sank two triples, while Myers added four points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Ebert tallied two baskets and made three steals.
By SARA WELLS
On Feb. 19, the Valley Lumberjills and Hundred Hornets faced off in the first round of the WVSSAC sectional tournament. The game was played at Valley High School, with the ‘Jills trumping the Lady Hornets 57-48. The game was Valley Girls’ Basketball Coach Larry Weekley’s last home game, as he will be retiring from his coaching position of 39 years this basketball season. Weekley stated after Saturday afternoon’s game, “I’d like to thank all the student athletes I’ve coached for the past 39 years, fans, students, and cheerleaders. It’s not just coaching that I have enjoyed, it’s the people. The ‘Short Line’ has great people. I will say it’s nice to go out with a win at my last home game. It’s much better than the alternative.”
Valley did win the game, however, the outcome definitely couldn’t be determined easily during the first two quarters of Saturday’s ball game. The first quarter proved tough for the ‘Jills while the Lady Hornets led 15-7 at the first-quarter buzzer. With 5:31 left in the second quarter, the Jills shaved the Hornets’ lead to three points, scoring seven tallies, while the Hornets only scored two points, making their lead 17-14. From there, the ‘Jills would score 11 more by halftime, but the Hornets were on fire and scored 15 more points, keeping a seven-point gap between the two teams’ scores, 32-25.
Valley’s girls came out from the halftime break more than ready to play and with their game on. By the end of the third quarter, they had stolen the lead from the Hornets and were up by 16 at the end of the third quarter, 47-31. The Lady Hornets tried to keep up with the renewed ‘Jills’ energy, but just couldn’t pull off a win to advance to the final sectional game, losing 57-48.
Valley seniors Tiffany Hayes and Morgan Starkey both scored 10 points in the game, while sophomore Megan Bucher paced ‘Jills with a dozen points, including a pair of three-point baskets. Leah Morris contributed seven tallies, while Brittany Guthrie netted a pair of baskets from beyond the arch and Heidi Shaw netted a pair of buckets and a pair of freebies from the charity stripe. Chelsea Underwood followed with five points, while the keeper of the stats, Jessica Ashcraft, came off the bench to swish a free throw.
For the Lady Hornets it was the duo of Raven McDiffitt and Katie Tennant that kept them in the game. McDiffitt finished off her fine career with 20 points, including a trio of three point baskets, while Tennant netted 18 markers and hauled in over 20 rebounds. Mercedes Goff swished a pair of baskets from beyond the arch, while Emile Ebert tallied four points. The Lumberjills will head to Wheeling Central Tuesday, Feb. 22, to play at 7 p.m. for a sectional championship.