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Morgantown tops Martinsburg in Class AAA quarterfinals

Chip Ellis
Morgantown's Allison Thompson shoots over Martinsburg's Kiana Bullett.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Three straight 3-pointers broke a game-long shooting slump and lifted No. 2 Morgantown to a 45-31 victory over No. 7 Martinsburg in Wednesday's Class AAA quarterfinal of the girls state tournament at the Civic Center.

With 2:20 left in the third quarter and neither team generating much offense, Morgantown's Haley Holloway drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Half a minute later, the Mohigans' Leah Taylor got open in the left corner and drained another trey. Guard Olivia Seggie capped the 9-0 run on Morgantown's next possession when she bombed in another triple from out front.

The flurry turned a tenuous 8-point lead into a decisive 17-point bulge. Mohigans coach Adam Henkins summarized the brief offensive outburst in a single word: "Big."

"I thought we broke their backs there a little bit," he said. "[Those scores] settled us down a little bit and gave us some more confidence, and I think we started seeing heads drop on [Martinsburg's] end."

The burst staked Morgantown to a 37-20 lead headed into the fourth quarter, and the Mohigans played safe from there, holding the ball as long as possible on each fourth-quarter possession. Martinsburg drew within 13 points early in the period, but would get no closer.

Bulldogs coach Wes Hall praised his team's defense for holding Morgantown to less than 50 points, but also credited the Mohigans' defense for forcing 27 turnovers and throwing Martinsburg's shooters off their game.

"I guarantee whoever Morgantown plays will have a lot of turnovers," Hall said. "They press the whole game and are just ferocious. During the second half of the season, we averaged less than 10 turnovers a game. I'm sure we had well over 20 this game."

Henkins was equally complimentary of Martinsburg's defense.

"That might have been the best man-to-man defense we faced this season, and I thought that might have led to a little bit of our inefficiency on the offensive end," he said.

Neither team shot well. Morgantown made 17 of 52 field-goal attempts, while Martinsburg suffered through a 10-for-37 effort.

Taylor led Morgantown with 11 points. Forward Caroline Colombo added seven and center Allison Thompson chipped in six for the Mohigans.

Senior forward Kiana Bullett, who had 10 points, was the only Bulldog in double figures. Essence Underwood added eight for Martinsburg, which finished its season 15-7.

Morgantown (20-5) will face today's Parkersburg-Hedgesville winner in Friday's 9 p.m. semifinal game.

Reach John McCoy at johnmccoy@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.


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