SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Spring Valley's program finally has some validation.
Junior post Maddie Morris and junior guard Sarah Kelly led the Timberwolves inside-outside scoring combination with 20 and 19 points, respectively, in defeating George Washington 73-59 Saturday evening in the girls championship game of the Mountain State Athletic Conference Night of Champions. A crowd of about 400 attended at the South Charleston Community Center.
Spring Valley (19-3), No. 3 in this week's final Associated Press poll, had only competed in the MSAC title game once before since its current inception in 2003, losing to Capital by 29 points in 2006. The Timberwolves were the top seed in last year's state tournament before falling in the semifinals.
"I think people know we have a program now,'' said Spring Valley coach Bo Miller, whose squad went 7-0 to claim the MSAC's West Division and earn a spot in the title game. "We're not just a one-year team. We are a program now.''
Spring Valley ran out to a 10-1 lead in the first three minutes and was never really challenged the rest of the way. Kelly turned in six points on a driving layup and free throw and a 3 during the surge and Morris, who has verbally committed to Marshall, added four points on a putback and two free throws.
GW closed within 13 points (46-33) after junior guard Hailey Stewart tallied five straight points on a steal and layup and 3 with 5:02 left in the third quarter. The Timberwolves, though, promptly answered with a 17-2 run that ended with a 25-point lead (62-37). Kelly hit two 3s while junior guard Kassidy Lemons and junior guard Allie McGraw also made one shot each from long range.
Spring Valley's Morris connected on 8 of 24 shots and added seven rebounds and four steals while Kelly made 7 of 15 from the floor, including 4 of 7 on 3s, with seven assists. McGraw finished with 10 points behind three 3s off the bench for the Timberwolves and junior forward Brooke Heck donated 10 points, six boards and six assists.
"It's an amazing feeling,'' Morris said of taking the MSAC title. "It was definitely a goal of ours that we needed to accomplish this year.''