ST. MARYS - Gilmer County was willing to sacrifice the perimeter in order to shut down the interior.
Unfortunately, St. Marys freshman Ashley Hall had other ideas as the Blue Devils clinched their fourth straight 20-win season after defeating Gilmer County 82-57 in Wednesday's Division I championship game of the W.Va. Hometown Invitational.
Filling a role as St. Marys' sixth man, Hall drained five 3-pointers and scored a team-high 20 points.
"We wanted St. Marys to beat us on the outside we didn't want to get beat by their post players," Gilmer County head coach Amy Chapman said.
Hall accounted for 11 points in a second quarter in which St. Marys led by as many as 16 points. The exclamation mark of the first half occurred with time winding down in the second quarter. Hall took a couple of dribbles just inside halfcourt and let loose a 3-pointer from beyond NBA range and banked home the shot to leave Gilmer County County trailing 40-27 at the halftime break.
"As we talked about it, I told her she is shooting too far out of her range," St. Marys coach Howard Meeks said. "Arguably, she could start every game, but I have a unique team with a junior that is a defensive specialist, three more seniors and a 6-foot-4 post player.
"So she has been coming off the bench, but she is not a bench player. And she is not a freshman anymore. I'm excited for her to step out and have a game like this tonight."
The Titans never recovered and fell further behind as the Blue Devils opened the third quarter with a 10-4 run. Hall capped the series with a 3-pointer followed by a two-pointer off one of five assists by Abbi Fetty.
Four St. Marys players scored in double figures, including Audra Clark with 15 points. Dani Moore and Kendra Walker each pitched in 10 points for the 20-1 Blue Devils.
"We had tough practices getting ready for this game they wanted to win, but St. Marys is a great basketball team," Chapman said. "This game only gets us prepared going into sectionals. It points out our weaknesses and what we need to work on.
"Our guards came out and did a nice job hitting shots for us," Chapman added. "We handled their big girls as best as we could with their size. I just can't say enough about the girls and how hard they played."
Gilmer County, which slipped to 14-6, enjoyed success with its outside shooters and combining for seven 3-pointers, including four from Julie Bishop and three from Morgan Allen. Bishop led all scorers with 25 points, while Allen added 12 points.