The Yellow Jackettes stingers ricocheted off the iron 48 times as Trinity Christian warded off the attacks to claim the Region II Championship 44-24 in Morgantown on Wednesday night to earn a spot at the state tournament in Charleston.
Moorefield battled throughout the game with intensity and hustle, yet couldn’t buy a basket as the ball bounced off the rim on 41 field goal attempts and seven free throws (9-of-16) causing a loss just shy of the state tournament goal.
“Shooting the basketball put us behind all night. We battled in there and got it back to 14-10 at the half, but we came out and it was the same thing,” Moorefield Coach Paul Keplinger remarked.
“We couldn’t make foul shots, layups or jump shots. It wasn’t just one aspect, it was all shooting. They came out and hustled, played hard the whole game. We just couldn’t buy a bucket. That was the key to the whole game.”
Despite the dismal shooting and falling behind 8-nil out of the gate, the Yellow Jackettes would buzz back to pull within four points at halftime trailing the Lady Warriors 14-10.
Trinity Christian (13-12) commandeered a 12-0 run in the third period and shielded the hoop from the swarm surrounding the court in spite of their own struggles missing 31 field goals and going 17-of-33 from the free throw line.
There were a couple of walks to begin the championship, then Lady Warriors senior Emily Saurborn garnered a defensive rebound and drilled a 3-pointer for the initial lead at the 6:50 mark.
The Trinity Christian student section was given a warning for being too close to Moorefield’s Lindsey Rinker on an inbound play after a foul.
Moorefield (12-13) missed another shot and Trinity Christian’s Rachel Rosen snatched her first of 13 rebounds on the night and was two points shy of a double-double (8).
After a jump ball, Moorefield applied pressure and the Lady Warriors missed a shot with it deflecting off the Yellow Jackettes out of bounds.
Trinity Christian’s Reagan Sharp drew a foul from Moorefield’s Gianna Fair and would make both free throws en route to scoring a game-high 19 points in the championship win.
“It’s really exciting, the girls have worked hard all season. When I took over a couple of years ago, it was a team that was learning and we set some goals that we wanted to be a team going to Charleston in a few years. It is happening and it is really exciting,” Trinity Christian Coach Mike Baldy commented.
“We think highly of Moorefield and they have a lot of tough girls and he rotates them well and keeps them fresh. We knew that’s what they were going to give us early, so we did some press. To be honest, I’m not sure we got their ball handlers in the backcourt. Ultimately we played excellent man-to-man defense and that reflects in us holding them to 24 points. I’m really happy with holding them low. We have a couple of players that will themselves to the hoop and we have others coming around them to make them better. It is an exciting time right now. [Reagan Sharp] She has giant heart. We just ask her to get to the hoop and she does it. Kerry Woods was our coach and is our athletic director now, he laid the groundwork for our program and it is exciting to share this with him.”
Pressure by the Lady Warriors forced a timeout and the next shot was off the mark with Kaylie Laskody redirecting the ball off the rim to Saurborn.
The Yellow Jackettes regained possession on a defensive rebound by Madison McGregor, but was tied up immediately by Rosen with the arrow staying with Moorefield.
Moorefield hit the rim and Fair went for the rebound, but it was stolen by Rosen and she stepped out.
Moorefield senior Nautica Crosco cut into the paint and was fouled by Rosen, but couldn’t connect on the free throws.
A rebound attempt by Moorefield’s Remi Hinkle eluded her grasp as Trinity Christian’s Jaclyn Smith snatched the turnover leaping along the baseline for a save, but the Lady Warriors walked just as a 3-pointer went in the hoop.