PSC women’s basketball wins Region XX championship

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune
The Potomac State women's basketball team poses after winning the Region XX championship with a 72-52 victory over Garrett College.

KEYSER - The Potomac State Lady Catamounts, fielding a starting five consisting of three local players, and five total that saw playing time, defeated the Garrett College Lady Lakers 72-52 Saturday to claim the Region XX championship.

 In doing so, Potomac State now advances to the Division II District Championships held in New Jersey later this week, in search of a possible ticket to the NJCAA national tournament.

“Today, and all year, we’ve battled.  We’ve got a bunch of fighters. We have different people who have done different things. We’ve had multiple people score in double figures all year. We do it from a team aspect. I know today, obviously Alexis Yanosky had a big game, but for the most part, we have a lot of players who are contributing a lot,” Potomac State coach Larry Kruk stated.

“Also, Makenna Douthitt has been huge this year.  Alexis Turner, especially here of late, has just been outstanding.  She has really taken control of the office, and really allowed us to play at the comfortable pace that we want to. If we want to play fast, we can play fast. If we want to slow it down, she pulls it back out. She’s really been kind of the catalyst in everything,” Kruk explained.

According to Kruk, “It’s been a great season with a pretty consistent effort from all of them. We have nine girls, and all of them have played and practiced all year, and it’s really a team effort. I know Alexis (Yanosky) scores points, and we have different people step up. Like, we’ve had Makenna Douthitt have huge rebounding games, Alexis Turner has had huge scoring games. Jaimalyn Ash has been kind of a quiet unsung hero that a lot of people don’t see. She does a lot of the little things real well. She does the dirty work a lot of people don’t want to do.”

Potomac State opened with a 16-12 advantage in the first period, then edged Garrett 13-12 in the second period to take a close, five-point, 29-24 lead at the half. The Lady Catamounts then outpaced the Lady Lakers 21-12 in the third period to extend their lead to 14 points, 50-6, heading into the fourth period. In the final stanza, Potomac State outscored Garrett 22-16 to earn the 20-point, 72-50 victory.

In the victory, Potomac State was led in scoring by Alexis Yanosky with a game-high 29 points. In the first half, Yanosky picked up three fouls and as a result was sent to the bench in an effort to save her for the second half. At the break, she accounted for only three points. In the second half, however, she exploded for 26 points to bring her game-total to 29. In addition to the 29 points, Yanosky earned a double-double by grabbing 12 rebounds.

“I put her back in with two fouls and then she picked up her third one real quick. So, she sat out due to foul trouble. I would have kept her in with two fouls, but when she got that third one I couldn’t risk it, you saw how valuable she was, especially in the second half. She plays with effort, that’s her biggest thing. She just plays with non-stop effort, and she’ll play until she is blue in the face,” Kruk explained.

Also scoring in double figures for the Catamounts was Makenna Douthitt with 12 points and 8 rebounds, and Jaimalyn Ash with 10 points. Alexis Turner finished just one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds. Kearstin Lucas added six points, Marleigh Bays four points, and Erica Merrill two points in the win.

Garrett was led by three players in double figures, with Harmoni Swain leading the way with 18 points, Kiara Cole was next with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Maya Harvey tallied 10 points. Jazmine Moxley added six points and Kylie Felton four points in the loss.

The Lady Catamounts are coached by head coach Larry Kruk and assisted by assistant coach Matt Mills. Local players include Alexis Turner and Kearstin Lucas from Keyser, Makenna Douthitt from Frankfort, Madison Paris from Mountain Ridge, and Jada Fout from Hampshire.  Alexis Yanosky hails from Berlin-Brother’s Valley in Pennsylvania, Jaimalyn Ash from University High in Morgantown, Erica Merrill from Summers County, and Marleigh Bays from Sissonville.

Potomac State is slated to play Union County College on Saturday, April 10 at 3 p.m.

“I like our chances. When I say that, I think teams are sleeping on us. Both the other regions have strong teams, not that we don’t but they have stronger. We’re right there in the mix, and I would say we are like that sleeper team that can win. We’re battling, we just get after it and work hard every day,” Kruk explained.