KEYSER - They say the third time is a charm. It was looking like that axiom may ring true for the Keyser Lady Tornado in their sectional semi-final game against the Petersburg Lady Vikings. The Golden Tornado had dropped their previous two meetings to Petersburg 62-52 and 53-48, but things were playing out much differently in this playoff matchup.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - They say the third time is a charm. It was looking like that axiom may ring true for the Keyser Lady Tornado in their sectional semi-final game against the Petersburg Lady Vikings. The Golden Tornado had dropped their previous two meetings to Petersburg 62-52 and 53-48, but things were playing out much differently in this playoff matchup.
At the end of the first period, Keyser clung to a narrow 10-8 lead. By the end of the second period, the Lady Tornado had extended their lead to nine points (33-24) heading into halftime. In that second period, senior star Kearstin Lucas buried four three-pointers and a field goal for 14 second period points. Lucas was on fire, and her first half tally was at 18 points.
Coming out of the gate after halftime, Keyser maintained control of the game. Lucas tacked on 10 more points in the third period, teammates Kaili Crowl and Makenna Staggers combined for three more, and the Lady Tornado ended the third period still in control by seven points (46-39).
So heading into the final eight minutes it looked as though Keyser might possibly avenge those two previous losses to Petersburg, and this time it would be when it counted the most. Then came the Petersburg explosion as the Vikings opened the fourth period on a 12-0 run. With 4:42 remaining in the game, suddenly the tables had turned and Keyser found themselves trailing by five points (51-46).
At the 3:55 mark, senior leader Lexi Turner would hit a bucket to bring the Petersburg lead back down to a one possession ball game at 51-48.  The Lady Vikings would respond with another run, this time 6-0, to increase their lead back up to nine points (57-48) with only 2:10 remaining on the clock.  
Maddy Broadwater and Kaili Crowl would manage a bucket apiece for Keyser but Petersburg would counter with four free throws down the stretch to cancel out those four Keyser points. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Lady Vikings had did it again, thwarting a valiant effort by the Lady Tornado to earn win number three over Keyser and advance in sectional play.
Through the first three periods, it really did look as if the third time would be a charm for Keyser. However, Petersburg saved their best for last with fourth period runs of 12-0 and 6-0 to wash away Keyser’s successes in the firsts three periods. The play of Petersburg’s Jenna Burgess in the second half, combined with foul troubles for Keyser would prove the difference.
Burgess earned 12 second half points, eight points in the fourth period alone, to lead her team in scoring and to the victory with a team-high 21 points.  Also scoring in double figures for the Lady Vikings was Reese Hedrick who turned in a 13 point effort. Casey Watts contributed eight points, Kayla Lantz and Mackenzie Kitzmiller six points apiece, and Carly Turner three. Rounding out Petersburg’s scoring was Hannah Moyers and Mickayla Taylor with two points each.
In the hard fought losing effort, Keyser was led by Kearstin Lucas who tallied 28 points, 18 of which came in the first half, the remaining 10 in the third period. Kaili Crowl was second with 11 points, Makenna Staggers added seven, Lexi Turner four, and Maddy Broadwater two.
The loss to Petersburg ends the season for the Lady Tornado. Keyser compiled a season record of 13-10 with victories over Bishop Walsh, Berkeley Springs three times, Northern, Tug Valley, Grafton, Hampshire twice, Moorefield, Philip Barbour, and Southern twice.
Along the way there was much to celebrate. Returning all-state players Lexi Turner and Kearstin Lucas were outstanding in leading the team statistically game after game. Turner reached 1,000 points for her career and became Keyser’s all-time leading scorer and three-point shooter along with other accolades. Lucas turned in dominating performance after dominating performance similar to her 28-point performance in this game.  The dynamic duo will be fun to watch as they continue their athletic and academic careers at Potomac State next year.
Another nice storyline that developed was the bonding on and off the court of Keyser’s four seniors who had played together since the earliest of days. Lexi Turner, Kearstin Lucas, Makenna Staggers and Aubrey Smith provided senior leadership and most importantly a model for Keyser’s underclassmen for what it means to be the perfect teammate.  
This senior class most certainly left their mark on Keyser’s basketball program.  While irreplaceable, their being role models for the younger players will pay big dividends for those following in their shoes.