Hamilton takes 7th and 8th Grade title over Jackson, 42-37

Photos by Josh Hughes Hamilton’s Sierra Mason brings the ball up the court in the 7th and 8th Grade Girls’ Championship on Friday at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center. Mason finished with 11 points and was named to the all-tournament team.

PARKERSBURG –In the second middle school game of the night at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center, an all-out battle took place. In the 7th and 8th grade girls championship, Hamilton scored the upset over the top-seeded Jackson Generals, 42-37.

In her final game with the Wildcats, Sierra Mason shined bright on the biggest stage. She totaled 11 points and hit the floor on multiple occasions in the heat of the contest. That intensity attracted a lot of attention from opposing players, and opened up some open looks for Hamilton’s leading scorer, Payton Harvey.

Harvey had 13 points and recorded most of those points off assists. Even though the night belonged to Hamilton, Jackson would not go down without a fight.

Following a first quarter that was knotted at 10 apiece, both teams kept pace. Brilynn Florence found herself with the ball in her hands as the clock was winding down. She heaved a miracle 3-point shot at the buzzer that bounced around for a couple seconds before it finally made its way to the bottom of the net. That 3-ball extended a slim General lead to 26-21, as both teams headed to the locker rooms.

Halfway through the third, the Wildcats finally regained their first lead since 2:04 in the first quarter. With the game tied at 29, Rachel Wade stole an inbound pass and laid it in to give her team the edge.

That was the last time that Hamilton had to gain the lead, as strong team defense sealed the deal throughout the remainder of the game.

The dagger came when Harvey found herself on the receiving end of a Mason pass around the perimeter. She spotted up and hit a 3 that rocked the ROAC, and it gave the Wildcats a 6-point lead at that point. Multiple turnovers and missed free throws sealed the Generals’ fates, and Hamilton came away with a tight win.

“It feels good,” Hamilton coach Eric McCoy said after the victory. “You know, we’ve worked really hard over the last 3 months or so to get to this point. With all the challenges we had along the way, we had room to grow. To watch this team get better as the year goes on, and to see them come together when it matters is great.”