"The kids kept working every single day. [Winning at Greenbrier East] meant an awful lot to the program. That's what we have to do. We're trying to build this program and we've got to take it step by step.''
Senior guard Keke Walker notched 25 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and contributed six boards and six steals for Capital. Senior guard Khadijah Lee chipped in 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The Cougars hung in for most of the opening half, taking a 25-22 lead with 3:48 left in the second quarter. Lee's three-point play on a layup and free throw gave the Cougars' their first advantage at 23-20 with 4:52 to go in the half.
Spring Valley, though, answered with a 13-0 run to forge in front 35-25 just before intermission and was never threatened again. Kelly tallied six straight points on three foul shots and a 3 during the surge.
"We didn't come out and play very good in the first half,'' said Spring Valley coach Bo Miller, who saw his squad shoot 39.3 percent in the opening half with 13 turnovers. "I think we settled down a little bit with nerves. It's new to these girls. We just relaxed. Once we settled down, I thought we played pretty good.''
The Timberwolves picked up right where they left off in the third quarter with a 12-5 run for a 15-point bulge (47-32) with 4:29 left, thanks in large part to making every Cougars' inbound play difficult. Spring Valley was comfortably sitting on a 59-40 advantage as the final period started.
"Things really got away from us real quick,'' said Calabrese, whose team turned the ball over 27 times. "We're up three late [in the second quarter] and you're thinking, 'Let's just finish the quarter strong and you're going to go in with the lead.' A few mistakes on both ends that I thought really, really cost us. It really snowballed on us. [Spring Valley has] done that to a lot of people.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.