KEYSER - For the second year in a row, the Keyser Lady Tornado opened the season with a close loss to the Lewis County Minutemaids, 56-52, in home action on Friday night.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - For the second year in a row, the Keyser Lady Tornado opened the season with a close loss to the Lewis County Minutemaids, 56-52, in home action on Friday night.
Keyser dropped last season’s opener to Lewis County as well, 50-43.  
It was a close game throughout, with the score tied at 12 points apiece after one period of play, 24 apiece at halftime, and it was 36 all at the end of three.  
The difference was the Minutemaids’ 20-16 advantage in the fourth and final period.
Lewis County was led in scoring by Emma Cayton’s 13 points, followed by Hannah Tucker with 10. Keyser’s Aubrey Smith led the Lady Tornado and in fact all scorers with 18 points, followed by Kearstin Lucas with 17.
Each team returned a pair of WV AA Honorable Mention All-State performers from last year, with Alexis Turner and Kearstin Lucas back on the hardwood for the Lady Tornado and Bella Posey and Anna Tucker returning for the Minutemaids.  
The Lady Tornado entered the 2018-2019 campaign on the heels of an impressive 15-9 season a year ago.  Last year, Keyser scored massive wins against two teams who would go on to win their respective state championships. First came a 61-55 victory over North Marion, who would claim the WV AA championship. Next would be Southern Garrett, 51-46, the eventual Maryland Class A champion. Keyser’s season would conclude, however, with back-to-back losses to Frankfort (56-46) and North Marion (81-37) in playoff play. Again, North Marion would claim the state championship, Frankfort lost to the Huskies in the state semi-finals.
For Lewis County, the hope is that the Minutemaids will return to Charleston for the state tournament for the first time in quite awhile. Lewis County is two years removed from being only three points away from a state tournament birth, but they were defeated by Bridgeport 46-43 in a close game. Last year, the Minutemaids lost somewhat unexpectedly to Roane County 54-46 in the first round of the sectionals. With a talented core returning, they hope to get over that playoff hump.
Lewis County will travel to Braxton County Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m.  Keyser traveled to Bishop Walsh Monday, followed by a trip to Berkeley Springs today at 7:30 p.m.