Keyser, Frankfort girls ready for playoffs after weekend wins

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune

Keyser and Frankfort girls ready for playoffs after weekend wins

The Keyser Lady Tornado entered play at home against Pendleton County on Friday fresh off a disappointing, 61-48 loss at Petersburg two days prior.  The Frankfort Lady Falcons entered play on the road at Wheeling Central on Saturday fresh off a road win at Trinity Christian in Morgantown two days prior.

For Keyser, then standing at a record of 8-6, sectional playoff seeding had already been determined and the Lady Tornado knew they would be hosting Berkeley Springs at home on Tuesday.  For Frankfort, then standing at a record of 13-2, sectional playoff seeding had already been determined and the Lady Falcons knew they would be playing in the sectional final game against the winner of Tuesday’s Petersburg/Moorefield contest on Friday at a neutral site.

Consider both the Keyser/Pendleton and Frankfort/Wheeling Central matchups on Friday and Saturday respectively, as basically tune-ups for the coming playoffs.  Keyser would post a 52-36 victory over Pendleton on Friday, an improved result from their earlier 38-30 victory at Pendleton just six days prior.  Frankfort would post a 73-56 victory over Wheeling Central in Wheeling.

For Keyser, the victory over Pendleton improves their record to 9-6 in advance of Tuesday’s home sectional playoff matchup against Berkeley Springs.  For Frankfort, the victory over Wheeling Central improves their record to 14-2 in advance of Friday’s sectional final.

Keyser got off to a dominating start, scoring four times as many points as Pendleton in the first frame to take a commanding 12-3 lead at the end of the first period.  An 11-6 Black and Gold advantage in the second period meant that the Lady Tornado took a 23-9 lead into the locker rooms at intermission.

After the break, Pendleton’s scoring output improves dramatically.  The Lady Wildcats scored 13 points in the third period and 14 points in the fourth period.  Unfortunately for them, Keyser produces 14 points in the third period and 15 points in the fourth period to earn the decisive 16-point, 52-36 victory.

“There was a little bit of improvement between this game and the first game we played against them.  We got off to a good start, we were leading 12-1, we were making shots, getting some turnovers, making layups, and then we couldn’t buy a bucket there for awhile.  I think we ended up shooting 8 for 28 in the first half from the field,” Keyser coach Josh Blowe stated.

“They packed in a little bit, and we had some really good looks, but, they just wouldn’t fall.  Especially in that first half, we had come really quality looks everywhere, but we couldn’t buy baskets.  But credit to our girls, they kept working hard,” Blowe explained.

Leading the way in double figures for Keyser was Rebekah Biser and Kaili Crowl with 12 points apiece.  Next up with eight points apiece was Aly Smith and Alexa Shoemaker with eight points each.  Finally, Averi Everline tallied six points, Maddy Broadwater three points, Maddie Harvey two points, and Summer Reid one point.  

In the loss, Pendleton was led by Ariana Young’s game-high 18 points, followed by Brooke Walls with nine points, and Kinzley Hartman with four points.  In addition, Hannah Swigunski and Brandy Bowers scored two points apiece, and Mariah Huffman one point.

Keyser was also victorious in the junior varsity contest by a score of 33-15.  Alyvia Idleman led the way for the junior Tornado with 14 points, Morgan Pratt followed with eight points, and Sydney Taylor added five points, Makayla Gillaspie was next with four points, and Charity Wolfe closed out the scoring with two points.

For Keyser, the attention now turns to the playoffs.

“All the wins are good, the girls were talking about that.  We’re starting over, it’s a blank slate right now.  We take it one game at a time and first we have Berkeley Springs on Tuesday.  We’re trying to get this team back to Charleston, but they know it’s a one game at a time mentality right now,” Blowe explained.

According to Blowe, “We’re going to have to find some consistent scoring and shot-making.  It doesn’t matter, we have 10 or 11 girls on this team that can do it.  It doesn’t have to be everybody, but it can’t be nobody on those given nights.  Because one bad night in the playoffs and you go home.  So, we definitely have to find consistent scoring and do a really good jon on offense, which means taking care of the ball and getting quality looks”

In Frankfort’s 73-56 victory over Wheeling Central, things started out extremely tight between the two squads.  In the second half, however, Frankfort blew the score wide open.

Wheeling Central, on the strength of five made three-pointers in the first period, opened up an early 22-20 lead over Frankfort at the end of the opening period.  Frankfort responded with three made three-pointers of their own in the second stanza to edge Wheeling Central in scoring 21-16.  When the intermission score was tallied, visiting Frankfort led Wheeling Central 41-38.

A decisive, 19-8 advantage in the third period gave the Falcons a commanding, 60-46 lead entering the fourth period.  In the final stanza, Frankfort edged the home team 13-10 to earn the decisive 17-point, 73-56 victory.  

It was an impressive win for Frankfort, as Wheeling Central had built a solid basketball resume over the years.  The Maroon Knights have won a total of five straight state championships from 2004-2008, and most recently won the hardware again in 2018.

“It was a great road win.  It took us a little while to get our legs under us after the long drive.  We didn’t know the gym was a few blocks from the school and up a steep hill but we walked to it.  Wheeling came out on fire and scored 22 points in the first quarter which was a little discouraging.  But, we made the necessary adjustments and got things corrected,” Frankfort coach Mike Miller stated.    

In the victory, Frankfort was again led by Marié Perdew with 26 points, and Halley Smith with 21 points.  Also scoring in double figures was Izzy Layton with 10 points.  Close behind was Larae Grove with eight points and Michelle Phillips with six points.  Arin Lease rounded out the scoring for Frankfort with two points.

“Big games and effort from Halley (Smith), Marié (Perdew), Larae (Grove), and Mackenzie (Long).  I was pleased with the overall contributions from everyone,” Miller explained.

In the loss, Wheeling Central was led by Marisa Horan with 14 points, followed by Reagan Olejasz and Alexis Mills with 11 points apiece.  In addition, Lily Vogrin and Tristen White tallied eight points each, and Abbey Jones four points  

There was no junior varsity contest played between Frankfort and Wheeling Central.

For Frankfort, the attention now turns to the playoffs.

According to Miller, “We will have our work cut out for us versus the Moorefield/Petersburg winner, but we are excited about the opportunity to compete for the sectional championship against a very good and well-coached team.  We will see where that game puts us and then we will let our actions speak for themselves.”

“I like this team a lot and they have all the capabilities to cut down the nets.  Nobody gives us much of a chance, just like in years past, but we’re battle tested and ready,” Miller explained.