Jackson claims 6th-grade girls county cage crown

PARKERSBURG – Jackson started strong and finished strong to register a 36-25 win over Hamilton Wednesday night in the Wood County Middle School 6th-grade girls basketball championship game at PHS Memorial Fieldhouse.

The contest was a dandy one between the top two tournament seeds that tied for the regular-season title with 8-2 records, going 1-1 against each other. Jackson won the coin flip to be the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

The victorious Generals (9-2) burst out to 10-2 and 12-4 leads in the first quarter Wednesday, only to see the Wildcats battle back all game long. But Hamilton was never able to take the lead again after scoring the first two points of the game.

A tight second stanza had Jackson extending its lead to six, 16-10, with 2:55 to go until halftime. But in the last minute, baskets by Hamilton’s Maggie Richards and Emily Kupfner sliced the margin to just 16-14 before Rylan Dudley gunned in a trey from the ring wing with 1.8 seconds remaining to boost the Generals’ lead back up to five at 19-14 at the halftime break.

Neither team thrived offensively in the third quarter, but the ‘Cats did outpoint Jackson 4-1 to go into the fourth quarter trailing only 20-18.

The Generals, though, tallied eight of the first 10 points in the final period – the first five by Madi Mace on three free throws and a rebound bucket followed by a corner trey from A.B. Robinson at the 2:20 mark – to up their advantage to 28-20.

Hamilton (8-3) never got closer than seven, 28-21, after that as Jackson sank six of eight foul shots in the last 1:52 to hold the Wildcats at bay.

Mace led all point-producers Wednesday with 16, with 10 coming in the fourth quarter on a basket and 8-of-11 at the foul line. Dudley added 13 for the Generals.

For Hamilton, Kupfner netted eight points and Breanna Wilson collected seven.

“A.B.’s 3 there in the fourth quarter I thought was a big shot,” said Jackson head coach Murray Mace. “All our kids played well and under control; it was awesome.

“The biggest thing for us was our second string in practice this week followed the scouting report to the ‘T’ in emulating what Hamilton did, and that was the difference in the game. We were ready for everything they did.”