CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Charleston Coliseum has been unkind to teams who enter the state tournament with an unblemished record, and looking to finish a perfect season.
It’s been nine years since the last West Virginia high school girls basketball team (Westside, 2012) went all season without a loss and won a state title.
That’s what No. 1 Fairmont Senior (18-1) was trying to accomplish Saturday.
The problem was, No. 3 Nitro (18-1) had other plans.
Even with 2,000 point scorer Baylee Goins going down with a leg injury in the second quarter, the Wildcats never wavered, and never trailed by more than two points.
Nitro pulled the upset, upending the Polar Bears’ quest for a perfect season, with a 51-45 win.
“We was able to cut it to 18-14, and then unfortunately she got the injury,” Corey Hines said after the game. “What I saw after that, I just saw her team stepped up for her and they made plays. As in we didn’t. We didn’t make the play. The ball didn’t fall.”
Fairmont Senior had its worst shooting performance of the season at the worst time. The Polar Bears made just 17-of-74 shots, finishing with just a 23 percent shooting percentage.
“I mean, at the end of the day, they only took 39 shots. We took (74). That’s a lot more. Let’s just do the math. We had a lot more opportunities. It just didn’t go in,” said Hines.
Nitro jumped out to a 16-1 lead in the first quarter.
Fairmont Senior eventually took the lead in the second period, as momentum swung its way both before and after the Goins injury.
Nitro came back to hold Fairmont to just six points in the third quarter, setting up the decisive final period of play.
Marley Washenitz, who led Fairmont Senior with 11 points on the night, fouled out in the fourth quarter with 2:28 to go. The Polar Bears, down by three at the time, never was able to pull even.
Reagan Blasher provided a nice spark for Hines’ group, scoring ten points, and knocking down two of Fairmont Senior’s three 3-pointers. Meredith Maier finished with eight points and 22 rebounds, with 13 coming on the offensive end.
Blasher (4) and Washenitz (5) were the only two Fairmont Senior players to make more than two shots from the floor.
Nitro turned the ball over 28 times but still found a way to win.
Taylor Maddox scored a game-high 17 points for the Wildcats.