Titans Crush Moorefield’s Girls State Basketball Dreams

The Yellow Jackets struggled with the radar in Glenville missing early targets in the first half fighting to pull within seven points at the intermission, then Gilmer County Girls Basketball burned the perimeter nets five times in the third period boosting the momentum crushing Moorefield’s state aspirations in a 75-48 victory last Wednesday during the Class A Region II Championship earning a ticket to the state tournament.

“We cut that lead down and battled right back where we wanted to be at the end of the first half and we thought we had some momentum coming into the third quarter, then No. 14 [Grace Wellings] stepped up and hit those threes. They went on that run and it put us down. She was three or four feet behind the line sinking threes. We saw a few shooting on film, but nothing like that. She stepped up big for them with 21 points. We kept battling and were fighting back,” Moorefield Girls Basketball coach Paul Keplinger commented.

“We have been behind in games this season before and came back. You have to give Gilmer County’s defense credit, their pressure got to us and they were aggressive. They were on their home floor and that’s the whole reason I preach all the time that we need to win to have that home court advantage. It showed and they were relentless. I am proud of my girls. They came in and always did what I asked of them to do all the time. This senior group has worked very hard all four years. They have done everything for four years and I am proud of every one of them. They accepted their roles and filled in where they needed to tonight. Gianna [Fair] was more aggressive and really stepped up inside. Madison [McGregor] was hustling all over the floor. Lindsey [Rinker] pushed the ball and got to the basket. It was the little things. Anna [Riggleman] hustled after every loose ball and was always on the floor. They were in three regional championships during their careers and almost a fourth one which was stolen at Union as freshmen. They have nothing to hang their heads about, they had great careers. People will have to look at us now and be prepared next time to play Moorefield. My girls have nothing to hang their heads about, they played with heart and the sun will always come out tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day.”

Running spurts in the first period enabled the Titans to commandeer an 18-7 lead with the help of six free throws.

Gilmer County had four players scoring four points apiece in the opening frame pacing the charge against the Yellow Jackets: Grace Wellings, Trinity Bennett, Malaysia Morgan and Taylor McHenry.

Moorefield countered with five points by Lexi Gilhuys and Remington Hinkle added two points in the first stanza.

Moorefield started to find a groove in the second period with a pair of field goals in the paint by Gianna Fair plus a 3-pointer by Lindsey Rinker and Sterling Kump, meanwhile thwarting some of the Titans attacks.

Wellings hit a jumper with just under two minutes remaining in the second period to put Gilmer County (20-5) ahead 26-17.

A 3-pointer by Madison McGregor enabled the Yellow Jackets (12-14) to cut the deficit to 26-20 with 1:38 left in the first half.

Gilmer County answered with a layup by Trinity Bennett on the ensuing possession.

Kump drew a foul and didn’t connect on the line, then the Titans committed a lane violation on offense.

After a walk by Moorefield, Gilmer County’s Malaysia Morgan snatched an offensive rebound and her shot appeared to be blocked by Fair only to have a foul assessed before adding one free throw.

Moorefield’s Lindsey Rinker collected the rebound off the missed free throw, but the next field goal attempt went awry and Fair collected the rebound prior to the Yellow Jackets losing the ball out of play.

The Titans missed a free throw with seven seconds left, then Rinker dashed down the court arching a shot over a defender near the paint scoring at the buzzer to close the gap 29-22 at halftime.

Gilmer County netted 3-pointers thrice in the first minute and change of the third period to rip ahead 38-22.

The second half started with an offensive rebound collected by McGregor moments before a double dribble was called, then Bennett drilled a trey at 7:25.

After fumbling the ball out of bounds, Moorefield’s Anna Riggleman stole the ball and the next shot went awry with Bennett hauling in the board.

Wellings sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a screen infraction in a span of 17 seconds giving the Titans the 38-22 advantage at 6:31.

Riggleman grabbed an offensive board, but the ball was stolen by Gilmer County’s Emma Taylor.

Hinkle collected a defensive rebound, then Wellings blocked the ensuing shot attempt.

Rinker drew a foul and made

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The Titans advance to the state tournament facing Wheeling Central Catholic in the opening round, while Moorefield’s season came to an end one game shy of that trip to Charleston for a third consecutive year.