Fairmont Senior's Saday Jones (24) puts up a shot over Chapmanville's Hayley Fleming (1) during first quarter action of the Lady Tigers 57-23 victory over the Polar Bears (Bill Lusk/WVOW Sports)
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
CHAPMANVILLE Alaira Evans scored 21 points and Class AA co-No. 7 Chapmanville picked up an early season signature victory and made it look easy Saturday afternoon at the Danny Godby Gymnasium defeating Class AAA No. 8 Fairmont Senior 57-23.
The Lady Tigers never trailed in a matchup of two schools meeting for the first time since the 2015 Big 10-Cardinal Conference Challenge, which coincidental also occurred in the Big 10-Cardinal Conference Challenge.
Chapmanville improved its record to 2-0 on the year, picking up a signature victory that coach Kristina Gore hopes will pay dividends toward the end of the season and the Lady Tigers quest for a Class AA state tournament berth.
“We are happy to be 2-0 and we talked again today, that it is December 3, and one day closer to March 11,” Gore said. “We got to be great every single day and one day at a time.”
“I have a lot of respect for Coach (Corey) Hines and the Fairmont Senior program,” Gore said. “Obviously they are in rebuilding mode right now, but it won’t take him long. He does a terrific job he will work with those girls, and they will improve as the year goes.”
Chapmanville’s defense limited Fairmont Senior to shooting 11 percent (6 of 52) and 14 percent (2 for 14) from 3-point range.
“It has been very seldom that one takes 52 shots and only makes six,” Hines said. “We got a young team, got a lot of youth and got a lot of people playing different roles.”
Fairmont Senior, who lost four starters including a pair of Division I athletes from last season’s Class AAA runner-up squad, started two seniors, two sophomores and a freshman in Saturday’s season opener.
“I knew it was going to be tough and the easy road would have been to not sit there instead of accept it and take the challenges,” Hines said. “We started on the first and hopefully we improve and get better.”
With a young and inexperienced roster, only three seniors, a junior and the rest sophomores and freshmen, Fairmont Senior was forced into 30 turnovers, which Hines credits Chapmanville’s defense and game plan.
“A lot of that is because of footwork. It wasn’t a pressing situation,” Hines said. “A lot of those causes were Chapmanville cause and that is something that we are trying to work on each and every day.”
Chapmanville jumped out to a 16-3 lead after one quarter thanks in part to a 10-0 run to end the first quarter.
Fairmont Senior scored the first eight points of the second quarter to close the deficit to five points, 16-11, on a pair of Jocyln Sylva free throws with 3:58 to play before halftime.
It would be as close as the Polar Bears would get as a pair of unfortunate events over the next 0:44 turned the momentum in favor of the Lady Tigers.
The first unfortunate event occurred with 3:45 to play in the quarter when Fairmont Senior’s Sadaya Jones was whistled for a personal foul sending Chapmanville’s Daizi Farley to the free throw line.
Hines, who was talking to Jones regarding the foul call, was whistled for a technical foul as Farley calmy sank the first free throw.
“I don’t bash an official, I told my player (Jones) that it was a different referee,” Hines said. “Anybody who referees knows that referees call different ways.”
“I have the right to say that to my player so she can set there and focus,” Hines said. “I told her she might get that call down there, but you didn’t get it right there so let’s move on.”
Farley would make the second foul shot and then sink one of two technical free throws to give Chapmanville a 19-11 lead following Hines’ technical, which he felt was unnecessary and uncalled for given the circumstances.
“I didn’t deserve that, my team didn’t deserve that,” Hines said. “That is only the second one of my lifetime and I have been coaching for over 20 years.”
Thirty-one seconds later, senior point guard Claria Hager went down with an ankle injury and never returned to the lineup for the Polar Bears. Hager would finish with two points and just one turnover.
“You don’t want to lose a senior point guard, who can help with this situation,” Hines said. “To lose her on an ankle injury, and then we had other injuries it is tough, but hopefully we will be a different team in the upcoming months.”
Chapmanville, who had to overcome foul troubles with starting guards Hayley Fleming and Farley, closed the quarter on a 9-2 run and lead 25-13 at halftime despite not making a second quarter field goal (0 for 4).
The Lady Tigers turned the ball over 27 times with 18 of those turnovers coming in the first half including 14 in the second quarter.
“We had our two starting guards in foul trouble and had some girls come in off the bench,” Gore said. “We were having a little bit of ball handling issues, and we weren’t able to get into things that we wanted to.”
Chapmanville outscored Fairmont Senior 19-4 in the third quarter and led 44-17 after three quarters.
The Polar Bears would not quit and closed the gap to 45-23 with a 6-1 run to start the fourth quarter, however, Chapmanville scored the final 12 points of the game.
Sylva and freshman guard Sophie Starn, who ran the point in Hager’s absence, led the Polar Bears with six points each. Jones, a sophomore transfer from Morgantown, finished with five points.
“We have to rely upon another freshman that is not really experienced at this,” Hines said. “I thought Sophie did a really good job to come in for her first varsity contest.”
Evans was 8 of 18 from the field and 5 of 8 from the free throw line while Chloe Thompson was 5 of 6 from the floor and finished with 11 points for Chapmanville.
Farley, who scored 27 points in a season opening win Thursday night over Herbert Hoover, scored just three points on three free throws and was 0 of 4 from the field.
“Tonight, was a different kind of game. It was more physical, and it was more suited for Alaira to step in and have the night she had,” Gore said. “When we played Hoover, they slacked off a lot defensively in man to man and we were able to get Daizi loose quite a bit.”
Chapmanville’s junior varsity saw some action in the fourth quarter and contributed with 14 points off the bench led by Riley Lucas, Rylee Prichard and Tayli Smith with three points each while Savanah Kirk and Makayla Parsons finished with two points each and Charity Atwood had one.
“That was great to see because those girls work really hard in practice,” Gore said. “They are primarily the scout team, and they take that very serious because they know how far we go depends a lot upon what they give us in practice.”
Fairmont Senior will host Class AAAA No. 8 Buckhannon-Upshur Wednesday night.
“They are going to be tough, everybody in the Big 10 is tough,” Hines said. “We got a tough schedule.”
Chapmanville will hit the road for the first time this season travelling to Poca Tuesday night.
“Poca is much improved from last season,” Gore said. “I heard they might have some injuries, which hopefully they don’t, because you don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”
Chapmanville 57, Fairmont Senior 23
Fairmont Senior (0-1)
Sylva 1-9 3-6 6, Starn 1-4 3-4 6, Jones 1-14 3-8 5, Beresford 1-13 0-4 2, Morgan 1-7 0-0 2, Hager 1-3 0-0 2, Price 0-1 0-0 0, Copney 0-1 0-0 0.
Totals: 6-52 9-22 23.
Evans 8-18 5-8 21, Thompson 5-6 1-2 11, Fleming 2-5 0-0 4, Mahon 0-2 3-4 3, Prichard 1-2 -0 3, Farley 0-4 3-4 3, Smith 0-2 3-4 3, Lucas 1-1 0-0 3, Parsons 1-2 0-0 2, Kirk 0-0 2-2 2, Christian 0-3 1-2 1, Atwood 0-0 1-2 1, Blair 0-2 0-0 0, Miller 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 18-49 19-28 57.
Fairmont 3 10 4 6- 23
Chapmanville 16 9 19 13- 57
3-point field goals- Fairmont Senior 2-14 (Sylva 1-5, Starn 1-3, Jones 0-1, Beresford 0-3, Hager 0-2), Chapmanville 2-11 (Evans 0-4, Mahon 0-1, Pritchard 1-1, Farley 0-3, Smith 0-1, Lucas 1-1). Rebounds- Fairmont Senior 31 (Jones 9), Chapmanville 40 (Evans 8, Thompson 8). Assists- Fairmont Senior 3 (Jones 2), Chapmanville 14 (Mahon 5). Total fouls- Fairmont Senior 23, Chapmanville 23. Technicals- Hines.