Lady Vikings defeat Lady Tornado 61-48

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune
Keyser's Kaili Crowl goes up for two of her team-high 15 points against Petersburg Wednesday.

PETERSBURG - The Keyser Lady Tornado and Petersburg Lady Vikings opened the season against one another in Keyser on March 4. In that game, Petersburg was victorious by a seven-point margin (52-45). After that, Petersburg would go on to win nine of their next 10 games to reach a record of 10-1. Keyser would go on to win eight of their next 12 games to reach a record of 8-5.

On this night, the two teams squared off a day after sectional seeding was already determined. In class AAA’s Region 1, Keyser is ranked third overall, and No. 2 in Section 2. In class AA’s Region 2, Petersburg is ranked second overall, and also No. 2 in Section 1.

As a result of the sectional and regional seeding already being determined, the two were really playing for momentum as the sectional playoffs approach next week. In the end, it would be Petersburg that grabbed the win in the second matchup by a score of 61-48.

“I think it definitely gives us some positives, and also we saw some things we need to work on as we get ready for Moorefield on Tuesday. We’re trying to keep this thing going. We’ve been on a nice little streak, so now it’s just a matter of still working to get better,” Petersburg coach Jon Webster stated.

According to Keyser coach Josh Blowe, “I don’t know how you can have 19 turnovers at halftime and be tied up with one of the top five teams in class AA. I really don’t know how we were even in the game against that quality of an opponent. But, we made some shots, we turned them over a little bit as well. I thought our half-court defense was pretty good.”

“In the second half, it was more of the same. We came out and the first two possessions we turned it over and they went down and made shots. They never looked back from there,” Blowe explained.

“It’s frustrating, we thought we had the turnover problem fixed. We’ve been only averaging 15 for the season, today we had 34. Tonight, they were a little more physical than most teams. But, we need to be better, we need to be a little more physical to handle it better,” Blowe stated.

Petersburg jumped out to a 15-9 lead by the end of the game’s first period. In the third period, Keyser outscored Petersburg 21-15, resulting in a 30-30 tie at halftime. Petersburg had extended their lead early in the second. Keyser battled back to tie the game at 21-21 at the 3:07 mark of the second frame.

The Golden Tornado would then take a 27-21 lead on a Rebekah Biser free throw, a three-pointer from Kaili Crowl, and a layup field goal by Maddy Broadwater. Petersburg would respond by clawing back to take a 28-27 lead on a three-pointer and layup field goal.  Kaili Crowl put Keyser back on top 30-28 with a three-pointer, but Petersburg responded with a layup to tie the game at 30-30 at the break.

At the start of the third period, Petersburg went on an 8-0 run to take a 38-30 lead in the contest, forcing Keyser coach Josh Blowe to call a timeout at the 6:29 mark. Keyser would outscore Petersburg 10-8 the rest of the way through the third period, but the Lady Vikings took a 46-40 lead heading into the fourth period.

Petersburg opened the fourth stanza on a 7-0 run to take a 53-40 lead and force a Keyser timeout. The rest of the way, the Lady Vikings and Lady Tornado scored eight points apiece to give Petersburg the 61-48 victory.

“I thought that we were more active in the second half. We made a few jump shots to start the second half which was huge for us. That made them have to come out and guard us a little more aggressively, then we were able to get the ball to who we wanted to. Really, I thought the effort was better in the second half than it was in the first,” Petersburg’s Webster explained.

According to Keyser’s Blowe,” I thought we played hard, but they played a lot smarter than us and the smarter team won tonight. Moving into next week, I like some of the things we’re doing right now. We’re making more shots and scoring some points, that’s encouraging. We’re rebounding the ball pretty well, but if you have one bad night in the playoffs, your season is over. We want to make sure we clean those things up heading into the playoffs next week.”

In the victory, Petersburg had three players in double figures.  Kayla Lantz led the way with 13 points, Jenna Burgess added 11 points, and Kym Minnich 10 points.  In addition, Mickalya Taylor added nine points, Kennedy Kaposy eight points, and Carly Turner seven points.  Finally, Braylee Corbin contributed two points and McKenzie Kitsmiller one point for Petersburg.

In the loss, Keyser was led in double figures by Kaili Crowl with 15 points, followed by Maddy Broadwater with 11 points.  In addition, Alexa Shoemaker added eight points, Rebekah Biser seven points, and Maddie Harvey three points.  Finally, Averi Everline and Summer Reid added two points each for Keyser.

In the junior varsity contest, Petersburg edged Keyser 39-35. The junior Vikings led 10-6 at the end of the first period and 18-13 at halftime. In the third period, Petersburg edged Keyser 15-14 to take a 33-27 lead entering the third period. Keyser edged Petersburg 8-6 in the fourth period, but the junior Vikings prevailed by four points (39-35).

The junior Vikings were led by Jayln Cook with 10 points, Abby Alt and Nellie Whetzel added nine points each, and Braylee Corbin five points. In addition, Kennedy Kaposy tallied four points, and Sam Colaw two points.

The junior Tornado were led in double figures by Charity Wolfe with a game high 16 points, and Sydney Taylor with 10 points. In addition, Alyvia Idleman added five points, and Morgan Pratt and Brooke Kesner two points apiece.

Keyser (8-6) will next host Pendleton on Friday for their final regular season game, with junior varsity action beginning at 6 p.m., and varsity action to follow at 7:30 p.m.