Lady Tornado suffers back-to-back close losses
KEYSER - After starting the season with a resounding 67-22 victory over Bishop Walsh, Keyser took to the road for two tough matchups at a pair of AAAA schools, Hedgesville and then Washington. Unfortunately for the Lady Tornado, both matchups ended in narrow, heart-breaking losses.
Keyser fell at Hedgesville on Thursday by one point, 39-38. Two days later, on Saturday at Washington, the Black and Gold fell in overtime, 57-52.
After falling behind after the first three periods (10-7, 21-16, 30-23). Keyser saved their best for last, outscoring the host Eagles 15-9 in the final stanza. Unfortunately for Keyser, despite the heroic comeback attempt, it was too little to late as Hedgesville edged the Black and Gold 39-38.
“It was a tough, one-point loss. We never had the lead the whole game. I’ve never seen a game where your pressure dominates a team, we forced them into 37 turnovers, and held them to only four shots in the fourth quarter. But, we missed some layups, shot six for 16 from the foul line, 15 for 60 from the field, and it was a recipe for disaster,” Keyser coach Josh Blowe stated.
Maddy Broadwater led the way for the Lady Tornado in the loss with 12 points, followed by Averi Everline with eight points, and Alexa Shoemaker with seven points. In addition, Sydney Taylor added four points, Rebekah Biser three points, and Aly Smith and Summer Reid two points each.
Hedgesville was led in double figures by Kelly Ours with 16 points and Ziahya Lomax with 13 points.
Keyser was victorious in the junior varsity contest with Hedgesville 42-31. Abby Del Signore led the way for the junior Tornado with a team-high 17 points.
After suffering the tough loss at Hedgesville, it was back to the Eastern Panhandle two days later as Keyser traveled to Charles Town to take on the Washington Patriots. Unfortunately for Keyser, the Black and Gold would fall in overtime by five points (57-52) after controlling much of the game.
The loss, however, was not without controversy, and it certainly appears as if Keyser was dealt an unfair blow after being penalized unfairly with a technical foul late in the contest.
Washington gained a 16-13 edge in the first period, but Keyser dominated play in both the second and third frames. At halftime, the Black and Gold held a 31-23 advantage. After three periods of play, Keyser extended their lead to 12 points (40-28). In that final frame, Washington gained the 21-9 advantage to force overtime with the game tied 49-49.
The homestanding Lady Patriots, with the change in momentum, outscored Keyser eight to three in the overtime session to gain the 57-52 victory.
‘We had a 13-point lead in the third quarter, and a 10-point lead well into the fourth quarter. Our best defender, Janiah Layton, got hurt. Then our leading scorer Alexa Shoemaker fouled out. The icing on the cake was getting a technical foul for trying to call a time out when their book said we didn’t have any. But we had two remaining,” Blowe explained.
According to Blowe, “I had only used three of my five timeouts. Watching the film back, we definitely had timeouts left. So, instead of s having the ball out of bounds, getting fouled, and shooting free throws since we were in the lead, they get two shots and the ball. They got four points off of that. They hit a shot with about three seconds to go in regulation to tie it up.”
“It would have been a big win for us, Washington had already had two big wins. We were playing as good of basketball as I’ve seen in the last few years in the second and third quarters. Then everything that could go wrong did go wrong in the fourth quarter. It was like a big snowball effect,” Blowe explained.
Alexa Shoemaker led the way for Keyser in the loss with 13 points, followed by Aly Smith with nine points and Summer Reid with eight points. Rebekah Biser and Maddy Broadwater added six points each, Janiah Layton tallied five points, Maddie Harvey three points, and Sydney Taylor two points.
Washington had three players scoring in double figures. Alexa Osafo-Mensah led the way with 11 points, followed by Olivia Saunders and Michaela Settles with 10 points each.
In the junior varsity contest between Keyser and Washington, the junior Tornado came away with a 26-25 victory.
Despite the two really tough, close losses, there’s a positive spin that can be put on the experience of losing both games.
“The positives are that we played really, really good basketball. We executed, we did a lot of good things, especially against Washington. I thought that from the midway point of the first quarter to the midway point of the fourth quarter, we dictated the flow of the game. We played with a lot of energy and passion and executed really well. Overall, this will make us more battle-tested,” Blowe explained.
There’s also the fact that neither Hedgesville or Washington, both AAAA schools, are not sectional or even regional opponents, being in a different and larger classification.
Keyser (1-2) has only one game slated for this week. On Thursday, the Lady Tornado will host Moorefield, with junior varsity action slated for a 6 p.m. tipoff, followed by varsity action at 7:30 p.m.