Colebank, Helmick lead Tucker County girls to first state tournament victory since 2018

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Dave Helmick’s Tucker County Mountain Lions appeared in a girls basketball state tournament game for the seventeenth consecutive season.

But for the first time since 2018, the Mountain Lions will play in the state semi-finals.

Kadie Colebank and Macy Helmick combined to score 32 points, while Tucker County’s size affected what Webster County was trying to do offensively.

With Colebank and Helmick leading the way on offense, and London Hood doing a good job defensively against Webster County’s top scoring option in Sydney Baird, Tucker County picked up a 50-38 victory in the Class A quarterfinals.

“The girls played well, defensively, especially, and that was the focus,” said Helmick.

Colebank scored six of her 16 points in the first half, as she began using her size to her advantage from the beginning of the game.

“We always try to take it in. It’s like our offensive way and how we move the ball around”, said Colebank, who added 13 rebounds to finish with a double-double. “That’s just how we play ball. Since we have such a big advantage inside we just try to take it in when we can and try not to force it, of course.”

“Well, of course, (Colebank) is 6’1″. Kadie’s, she’s huge. And we knew that was going to be a factor for us coming into this game, because we really don’t have anybody who could match up with her, especially when it comes to rebounding,” said Highlanders head coach, Sharon Baird.

Sydney Baird, who came into the state tournament averaging 30 points per game, finished with a game-high 23 points, but went just 8-for-34 shooting-wise.

The Highlanders were making their first appearance in the state tournament since 2004. Baird, who wasn’t born yet the last time her school played in the Charleston Coliseum, says getting this experience will fuel her team in the offseason.

“I think it helps us a lot, finally seeing the floor and seeing the atmosphere, and getting used to the court, and the baskets. I think we’ll be ready, and I think we’re going to work this offseason to get back here next year,” said Baird.

Webster County, which trailed by eight after the first quarter, drew to as close as five points and had the ball with a chance to get even closer in the second quarter.

But Colebank scored with four seconds left in the half to put the Mountain Lions out in front by a score of 25-18. The Highlanders pulled to within four points early in the third quarter, but that was as close as they got the rest of the way.

Tucker County led by as many as 17 points in the game.

Helmick’s group will advance to play against top-seeded Tug Valley on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

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