CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Lewis County stepped on the court in the Charleston Coliseum for the first time in 18 years on Wednesday. The Minutemaid seniors weren’t even born the last time this program played at the state tournament.
“Every year, ever since we were freshmen, I know the goal has always been here,” said Olivia Krinov. “The end goal has always been to states, and every year we strive and try our hardest to do it. So, for our senior year to be down here, is just like a happy ending for us.”
Fairmont Senior, meanwhile, entered the premiere girls basketball tournament in the state with an unblemished, 15-0, record, and with plenty of experience in this building.
The Polar Bears defense caused Lewis County plenty of problems, forcing 34 turnovers. Fairmont Senior spoils the Minutemaids’ trip to Charleston, winning easily, 56-29.
“I’m very proud of their defensive effort. Any time you can hold a team like that to ten points in the first half … I thought defensively we did a lot of really good things,” said Fairmont Senior head coach, Corey Hines. “Anytime a team is playing defense like that, it makes you hard to beat.”
Lewis County trailed by just eight after the first quarter, but Fairmont Senior hit its stride in the second. The Polar Bears outscored Lewis County 22-4 in the period.
Marley Washenitz scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the first half. Emily Starn (11 pts) was the only other Fairmont Senior player to finish the game in double-figures scoring-wise.
She also made the play of the game in the first quarter.
“To us, that’s not really a big play. That play was just pure effort. And that’s what we preach. Effort is in your heart. No one can control it but yourself,” said Washenitz afterwards. “We play as a team on defense and offense, so even if someone gets beat on defense there’s help-side there to help them. So, just giving effort and being there for each other.”
Krinov, a senior playing in her first-ever state tournament game, led the way for the Minutemaids, scoring eight points, while grabbing 11 rebounds.
For Lewis County head coach Kenton Bozic, he already sees the effect his team’s appearance is having on their community.
“We’ve already got eighth graders pumped, ready to come to high school because of what these girls have done,” he said. “And they’re bringing basketball back to Lewis County, and we’re changing the culture back there.”
We’ll have more comments from this game on Thursday.
Fairmont Senior (16-0) advances, and will play the winner of tonight’s game between (4) Logan and (5) Pikeview.