St. Marys Preys On Lady Cougars

A thrilling 3-pointer buzzer-beater and a game-high 26 points by Julia Hahn wasn’t enough for the Lady Cougars to pounce over St. Marys as the Lady Blue Devils snatched a 59-42 victory in the second round of the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament on Monday afternoon in Baker.

“Our freshman hitting the threes early and Addie Furr being unselfish and kicking it out in the corner for her realizing she is hot. Addie plays as hard as anybody I’ve ever coached. She started attacking and getting to the line. I knew East Hardy was down a player and not as deep as they have been. We just wanted to pressure them and control out of our zone all day. At times we were successful, but at times we weren’t,” St. Mary’s Coach Howard Meeks remarked.

“This is the smallest team I’ve had with a guard playing center. We had to box out. When we did it well, we kept them at bay. East Hardy started to run out of time and had to foul. We leaned too much on our leading scorers [Kylie] Wright and Furr. I helped found the Hometown Invitational Tournament. We’ve had our ups and downs. In our first few years we had snow and cancelled games which frustrated some teams and they got out. I think the teams that stuck it out are benefiting. It is just something positive for the kids. We probably could have been a higher seed, but this year we had to travel and came here to East Hardy. It was a nice drive across Route 33 and through Seneca and to Petersburg and Moorefield. I have made this trip trout fishing, but for most of these girls this is their first time to come over here. It is making memories and that is what this is all about.”

“We’re fortunate to get press being so close to Parkersburg, but this tournament helps the smaller schools get recognized. Colleena [Burdock] up at Union last year was first team all-state and I don’t believe she does without putting up 48-49 points in our tournament against Wirt County. That is one prime example of how this tournament benefits the teams. East Hardy had a nice start and has a younger roster mixing in with the upperclassmen. They had the injury and trying to find themselves. One thing I can count on when I see a team from East Hardy is they always play hard and they did that today,” Coach Meeks added.

St. Marys controlled the game with perimeter shooting early in the first period as Kylie Wright knocked down three triples and Ciara Bennett scored a pair from beyond the arch to hold a 20-12 advantage.
East Hardy countered with four field goals from Hahn and a pair from Brooke Miller in the opening frame, but Miller got into foul trouble with three fouls and had to ride the bench in the second period which altered the lineup as the Lady Cougars were without guard Leanna Basye due to an injury.

A steal and layup by St. Marys guard Alexis Hashman a minute into the second period doubled the lead at 24-12.
On the next possession, Hahn made two free throws and swiped the ball before it was taken away by Ciara Bennett.
After a timeout, Mary Taylor scored a jumper for the Lady Blue Devils and Ciara Bennett stole the ball leading to a basket by Wright for a 28-14 advantage at 5:02.

East Hardy lost the ball out of bounds, then Emma Baker applied defense at mid-court forcing a walk.
Unfortunately, the ensuing pass by Lexi Strawderman was intercepted by Destiny Scott, yet St. Marys wasn’t able to net a basket with two errant attempts.
Hannah Fogel snatched a defensive rebound for the Lady Cougars, then Hahn kept the possession alive with a putback at 4:07.

Strawderman stole the ball, but Hahn lost the ball off her foot down the baseline with Lady Blue Devils playing tight defense.
A foul by East Hardy put Lara Fetty on the line and one foul shot was connected and Tera Jones grabbed the rebound for the Lady Cougars.
Wright deflected the pass out of bounds, then Addie Furr made a defensive board leading to a basket by Olivia Deweese.

Hahn hauled in an offensive rebound and drew a foul leading to one foul shot made.
Jones made a defensive rebound, then Wright tied up the ball with Hahn for a jump ball.
Hahn was fouled on a rebound and missed the free throw and Wright got the board.
Deweese fell in the paint losing control of the ball and whistled for a walk.
Wright deflected a pass going inside, but Strawderman recovered the ball and Hahn made a rebound and was fouled again leading to two free throws for a 31-19 score at 1:53.

Wright netted a jumper on the ensuing series eight seconds later.
The Lady Cougars lost the ball again and Taylor scored as a result for the Lady Blue Devils.
Hashman blocked a shot and Baker recovered it, then got an offensive rebound and passed to Hahn for a basket.
St. Marys carried a 35-21 advantage into the locker rooms.

“I enjoy playing in the tournament. We get to see people from across the state that we don’t normally get to see in the season. We can judge the level of competition in different areas of the state. It was just unfortunate that Leanna [Basye] got hurt last week and the last two games we didn’t have her. We were in the games, but couldn’t pull them out,” East Hardy Coach Bridget Billmeyer commented.

“We missed some free throws down the stretch when we cut the deficit and missed a rebound. It could have been a different ball game if we had knocked down some of those shots that we missed. We got them a little flustered, but it didn’t work out that way. Julia [Hahn] played well, putting up points and tried to carry to the load to keep us in it. You also have to give credit to Emma [Baker], she played very good defense out on top. She’s not a kid that shows up on the statistic page, but without her presence in the top of our half-court defense it would have been a different game. We enjoy the bond with the other team having the meal after the game. Usually when we go to the Hometown Invitational at other teams, they feed us. Our parents put food together and we all eat together. It’s a nice experience.”

Miller returned to action to begin the second half for the Lady Cougars, but it was Fogel making the initial defensive rebound.
East Hardy missed its shot and Wright got the board, then Strawderman intercepted the pass at mid-court only the Lady Cougars didn’t finish despite a rebound by Baker.
Miller grabbed a defensive rebound and assisted Baker on a jumper in the paint at 6:03, 35-23.

Both teams missed a pair of field goals over the next minute of action before Furr found the net.
Deweese made a defensive rebound, but Strawderman stole the ball and fed Miller for a basket at 4:31.

Baker and Hahn made a trap forcing a turnover as the St. Marys coach become more vocal about his player’s mistake.
Fogel grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled by Scott on a blocking attempt and failed to make the free throws.

Strawderman chased after an errant pass for the turnover and was fouled, the Lady Cougars didn’t score after that miscue.
Fogel made another rebound, then Furr blocked Strawderman.
Bennett stole the ball and missed the basket, then Miller snatched the board and was fouled.

Miller scored for the Lady Cougars on the following possession, but came down awkwardly rolling her ankle and left the game for two minutes.
Taylor netted a basket after the injury timeout, then Hahn responded with a field goal in the paint.

Baker collected a defensive rebound and assisted Strawderman on a mid-range jumper to cut the deficit to 39-31 with 1:39 remaining in the third period.
Bennett added one free throw on the next series, then Hahn scored a layup off a pass from Fogel, 40-33 at 1:12.

Miller came back into the game for East Hardy.
Strawderman grabbed a defensive rebound, then Furr blocked Fogel and Miller recovered the ball.
The Lady Cougars missed and Baker’s tip went to the Lady Blue Devils.
After a basket by Furr, Scott made a defensive rebound and Hahn fouled Furr leading to a pair of free throws with five seconds left.

Hahn dashed down the court and launched a 3-pointer buzzer-beater in front of the bench and jumped in jubilation after the fact with the score standing at 44-36.

St, Marys committed a quick foul to begin the fourth period to slow the momentum, then Lara Fetty stole the ball deflecting it to Taylor.
The shot attempt was off the mark and Baker couldn’t corral the ball, then Miller made her fourth foul at the 7:09 mark and Furr netted one free throw.
Fogel collected the rebound, but was whistled for a walk.

Hahn made a defensive rebound, but Taylor stole the ball back and was fouled.
The Lady Blue Devils missed the free throws and Hahn snatched the rebound.
Baker made a putback to cut the defect to 45-38 with 6:12 remaining.
Bennett was sent to the line and made both free throws, then was called for a defensive foul.

Wright swiped the ball and was fouled by Baker, then added two more free throws, 49-38 at 5:30.
Furr blocked Hahn, but Baker recovered and passed to Hahn, who drew the foul and added one free throw.
A trap by Strawderman and Baker forced a St. Marys walk for a turnover.

After a defensive rebound by Fetty and a putback by Hashman gave the Lady Blue Devils a 51-39 advantage, the last four minutes and change of the game featured eight trips to the free throw line.
St. Marys made eight of out of 12 free throws down the stretch including four by Wright.

Hahn added a free throw after a steal with 3:50 remaining for the Lady Cougars.
The final basket of the game was a jumper by Miller with 1:36 left as East Hardy trailed 59-42.
East Hardy missed several attempts over the last minute of the game as did the visiting Lady Blue Devils.

After Hahn’s 26 points, Miller contributed eight points for the Lady Cougars.
St. Marys was led by Kylie Wright with 21 points, followed by Addie Furr and Ciara Bennett with 11 markers apiece.

East Hardy provided homemade lasagna and garlic bread for both teams joining together after the game with a combined prayer, but the most popular item was the brownies made by Brooke Miller which the St. Marys girls enjoyed.

East Hardy travels to Tucker County on January 23 and plays Greenbrier West in the next WV Hometown Invitational Tournament game on January 27.