NMS Eighth Grade Lady Eagles Crowned Champions
New Martinsville School added some new hardware to its trophy case when the eighth grade girls’ basketball team defeated Bellaire 37-32 to win the championship of the Burger King/ Bellaire Sports Foundation Jr. High Basketball Tournament.
The game went back and forth early, but the Lady Eagles were able to seize the lead before halftime and keep control through the final two quarters. Post player Jasmine Litton led the scoring with 13 points, all but one coming in the first half. That’s when the outside shots started opening up and the shooters connected. Audrey Gibb dropped in seven points, Abby Durig and Kiera Standiford, six each; and Katie Blatt added in five. The team finished with a 13-1 record.
The local squad found the deck stacked against them early, as they drew the long bracket and would have to win four games in one week in order to take the title. Round one was a 44-33 win over Shadyside. Katie Blatt led the scoring with 14, supported by 11 from Litton. Gibb contributed eight points with Durig throwing in seven in her first game back from a mid-December knee injury. Standiford also scored four points.
The Barnesville Shamrocks proved to be the toughest contest of the tournament. In the quarter finals. Litton hit a free throw with six seconds on the clock to send the game into overtime. The Lady Eagles’ defense didn’t allow a point in the extra period; they won 31-28. Durig led the balanced attack with nine points, followed by Litton’s eight. Blatt chalked up seven markers, while Gibb and Standiford each put in a pair, and Shannon Williams had one point. Kacie Jo Brown also scored two points, but left the game with a head injury and had to miss the rest of the tournament.
The semifinal game went much smoother. The Lady Eagles built a 20-point lead on St. Clairsville and went on to a 27-16 victory. Standiford took a turn as the leading scorer, punching in eight points. Durig and Litton each added six points to the cause, while Blatt rang in with five and Gibb two, sending them to the championship game.
The regular season started well with a convincing 44-15 win over Woodsfield on opening night. Blatt got the season rolling with 15 points, backed up by Durig’s 12. Others adding in points were Brown, six; Standiford, four; Williams, three points; and Gibb two.
Game two brought about the only loss on the year for the Lady Eagles. The Moundsville Trojans escaped with a 36-32 victory. Blatt scored 11 points, Litton had 10 and Standiford, three. Durig, Gibb, Williams, and Brown all scored a pair.
Katie Blatt hit a game-winning free throw in the waning seconds of a come-from-behind 31-30 victory over the Trailblazers of Ritchie County. That free throw was one of her team-leading 10 points. Durig followed with eight, Litton chalked up seven, and Gibb was held to four.
Pleasants County was the site of the first road game and the Lady Eagles came home with a 40-30 victory. Blatt led the way with 14 points, supported by Durig in double figures with 10. Gibb garnered six points and Standiford supplied four points on the night. Litton and Brown rounded out the scoring with two each.
The girls traveled north to take on Bridge Street in the Wheeling Park Middle School Classic held at the “Palace on the Hill.” Litton’s 15 points led the team to a convincing 45-15 victory. Again, Blatt was in double figures with 10. Both girls were named to the all-tournament team. Standiford chipped in with eight; Gibb, six; Williams, four; and Lisa Patel, two.
Kiera Standiford had her first double-digit night with 10 points in a 31-24 revenge victory at Moundsville. Litton came up with six, Brown and Williams marked up four points each, along with two from Gibb and Krysta Henderson. Defense was the key, as the Moundsville post players, who scored 18 points in the first meeting, were held to a single point between them.
NMS had a depleted roster when it hosted the Lady Minutemen of Pleasants County, but came out on top 35-25. Standiford again led the charge with 13 points. Blatt picked up six markers, Brown added five, while Gibb and Williams contributed four each. Patel scored a pair and Brianna Young finished with a point.
Tyler Consolidated played host to the now-streaking Lady Eagles and Standiford kept her hot hand going with 13 points in a lopsided 43-22 win. Litton knocked down 11 points, Blatt added seven, Williams claimed six markers, while Brown had five points and Gibb had one.
Being the first team to play twice in the “Blue Eagles Soar for the Cure” inspired the Lady Eagles to defeat Short Line 29-18. Litton, who led the way with 11 markers, was joined by six each from Blatt and Standiford. Brown also had four points.
Ritchie County had revenge on their minds as the Lady Eagles traveled to Ellenboro to close out the regular season. A staunch defense kept the winning streak alive, as NMS earned a hard-fought 28-22 win. Standiford again hit for double figures with 12 points. Blatt added seven, Litton had five points, and Brown linked up four other points to round out the scoring.
Championship teams often are those that have overcome adversity in order to achieve their goals. That was certainly true this season. Players were lost due to illness and injury and the weather often caused problems with games and practices.
Even a lack of certified officials kept them off the floor a couple times, but nothing stopped them from reaching their goal of a tournament championship to make their final season at New Martinsville School one to remember.
NMS Hosts “Blue Eagles Soar for the Cure” Night
On Jan. 24, the New Martinsville School girls’ basketball teams hosted the second annual “Blue Eagles Soar for the Cure” night that featured the team in competition with the Short Line School team to raise funds for the Lee Ann Foundation, in memory of long-time NMS teacher Lee Ann Schambach. The foundation aids women undergoing cancer treatments in the area.
During the games, the NMS teams wore pink shirts with this year’s logo. Shirts were printed and sold at the game by Lisa White Embroidery. There were also raffles held with prizes donated by Witschey’s, The Tin Ceiling, Lisa White Embroidery, and staff members from New Martinsville School. Staff members also made and donated baked goods that were sold. A three-point contest was also held at halftime of each game.
The events raised over $1,200 dollars for the foundation. The teams thank all of the volunteers, fans, and businesses that contributed to the success of the fund raising event. There are already plans in the works to expand next year to include the boys’ teams as well.