Lady Tornado earns playoff win over Berkeley Springs

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune
Keyser's Averi Everline and Aly Smith reach and look for the ball in the Black and Gold's playoff win over Berkeley Springs on Tuesday.

KEYSER - The  Keyser Lady Tornado welcomed the Berkeley Springs Lady Indians to Keyser Tuesday for first-round sectional playoff action.  The Black and Gold previously defeated the Indians on March 5 by a convincing score of 71-30.  While the final tally in this game wouldn’t be quite as lopsided, make no mistake, Keyser was in full control from the opening tip to the final buzzer in earning the 41-28 victory.

That full control aspect of the victory was particularly on display in the game’s first half.  While both teams took a few minutes to get started, once the scoring started it was all one-sided in the early goings.  In a slow-moving first period, Keyser jumped out with a 7-2 advantage.  The second period was all Keyser as the Lady Tornado outscored the visitors 16-2 to take a defensively dominant 23-4 lead at halftime.

Thanks to Keyser almost doubling up the Indians 14-8 in the third frame, the Black and Gold commanded a 37-12 lead entering the fourth period.  When the game all but decided by that point, a 16-4 Berkeley Springs advantage in the final stanza served to only make the score look more palatable in print, as Keyser earned the 41-28 victory.

“I thought defensively in the first half we played really well, we played strong, but we missed a lot shots.  I think we hit nine for 36 in the first half, for some reason, in our own gym, we can’t make shots.  You shoot 36 shots, you should have about 35 or 40 points, we had 23.  You get 70 shots for the game, I expect you to have 70 points and we had 41,” Keyser coach Josh Blowe explained.

According to Blowe, “The bottom line is, if you get 70 shots, you should be scoring more than we are now.  You see the layups we miss, we have open shot after open shot, it’s all about putting the ball in the basket,” Blowe stated.

“But, we attacked the glass, we really did.  I guess when you miss that many shots, you better get after it, or you’re going to be one and one.  I thought our offensive rebounding was good, we had to have 19 or 20 offensive rebounds which is a good thing.  But, we have to find a way to put the ball in the basket Friday night, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it,” Blowe stressed.    

In the victory, Keyser was led in double figures by Kaili Crowl with 11 points and Maddy Broadwater with 10 points.  In addition, Alexa Shoemaker contributed six points, and Averi Everline and Rebekah Biser five points each.  Finally, Janiah Layton and Aly Smith added two points apiece in the win.

In the loss, Berkeley Springs was led by Emma Widmyer with nine points, Caybrie Clatterbuck with seven points, and Harley Didawick with five points.  In addition, Ty’Aira Mifflin added three points, and Karalyne Banks and Maddie Fauver two points apiece.

With the victory, the Lady Tornado elevates their season record to 10-6.  Keyser has now won six of their last seven games and heads into Friday’s sectional final matchup with Hampshire having also won eight of their last 10 games.

Keyser and Hampshire have split at one and one on the season, with each team earning a one-point, 40-39 victory on their own home court.  Lainee Selan hit the game winning shot at Hampshire to lift the Trojans in the first game.  Alexa Shoemaker hit the game winning three-pointer at Keyser to lift the Tornado in the second game.  

Blowe was asked what the keys to victory are in the sectional final at Hampshire?

“We’ve got to make shots.  We’ve got to make layups again, and at the free throw line.  I think in the two games we’ve played them, we’ve been 45 percent from the foul line, and that’s definitely something we’ve been working on in practice really hard, so hopefully we can do that.  We need to take care of the basketball, that’s always a key,” Blowe explained.

According to Blowe, “When we make easy shots, if we can make easy buckets, good things are going to happen.  But, we’ve got to make the easy ones, so we can relax ourselves and get into a nice rhythm, and I think good things will happen to us.

On the topic of being battle tested:

“We are.  I would have liked to have won more of those battle tested games, but yes.  Frankfort, the first game we lose by three, with a chance to win it there at the end.  They get a rebound, and we miss a three that looked like it was online to tie it up.  Both Hampshire games, it came down to the last possession.  The first Petersburg game was tight, and the second Frankfort game was tight for most of the game.  We’ve definitely been tested by a lot of teams,” Blowe opined.

The Keyser/Hampshire sectional final matchup will take place Friday at Hampshire with a 6:30 p.m. start time.