‘Jackets roll against Wirt in sectional semifinal win
WHS creates early distance in victory over Tigers
WILLIAMSTOWN — After getting off to a bit of a sluggish start in Wednesday evening’s Class AA, Region I, Section 2 semifinal against visiting Wirt County, the Williamstown Yellowjackets recovered in a big way as they rolled to an 83-44 win over the Tigers.
The ‘Jackets missed their first seven shots from the floor and found themselves trailing by four points early in the first quarter before they righted the ship in a hurry to take a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“Wirt County always comes out to play you very hard so we are tickled to get a win,” said Yellowjacket head coach Fred Sauro. “I was proud of our kids because when our shots didn’t drop they didn’t hang their heads they just kept pressing forward and we finally got going.”
Sophomore Georgie Inman played a big role in getting her team heading in the right direction as she came up with six rebounds and four steals in the first quarter alone.
“Georgie (Inman) brings so much energy to our team and she gets to more loose balls than anybody,” said Sauro. “She’s a great anticipator and she is really starting to come on for us.”
After trailing for much of the first quarter Williamstown took their first lead of the game on a triple by Nicole Reynolds and a minute later sophomore Aubrey Erwin connected on a 3-pointer to push the led to five.
Inman and sophomore Riah Sprouse scored back-to-back buckets to increase the lead to nine and after a Skylar Bunch field goal for Wirt County briefly slowed the ‘Jacket momentum, Williamstown took its first double-digit lead of the game on back-to-back hoops by Reynolds and Jayla Wiseman.
Kayleigh Murray’s bucket for the Tigers near the end of the period cut the lead to 21-12 after one quarter of play.
The Tigers managed to hang around within striking distance as they trailed by just 10 with four minutes to play in the half before junior Lakyn Joy got the hot hand for the home team.
Joy’s two-pointer with 3:15 to play in the half preceeded her 3-pointer and then yet another two-pointer off of a great assist from Reynolds to give the “Jackets a 35-18 lead.
Williamstown increased its lead to 20 in the closing minute of the half and they duplicated the 21-12 margin in the second quarter as they opened up a 42-24 lead at the break.
The Tigers opened the second half with a Shelby Simonton field goal but the ‘Yellowjackets got back-to-back points from Wiseman and Bailey to push the lead back to 20.
Murray answered for Wirt to trim the lead to 18 before Joy connected on back-to-back triples before scoring an inside bucket off of yet another great pass from Reynolds.
Williamstown extended the lead to 67-33 at the end of the third quarter allowing Sauro to get plenty of minutes of action for his entire squad as 11 different girls got in the game with all but one of them scoring at least a field goal.
Joy led all scorers with 24 points while Wiseman added 17.
“Everybody had a hand in this win and I am really happy with the way we are sharing the basketball,” said Sauro, whose team shot 50% (8 of 16) from behind the arc. “I think we are really starting to play like a unit.”
Reynolds finished with seven points, a game-high 10 assists while also yanking down five rebounds.
Rachel Wade also scored seven points for WHS while Bailey added six as did Inman, who also totaled seven rebounds and seven assists.
The Yellowjackets travel to No.1-ranked Parkersburg Catholic for the 7 p.m. Friday sectional championship game.