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Lady Tigers fall on the road at Class AAA No. 6 Lewis County

Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports

WESTON Kenna Maxwell hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 points, Bryn Hunt added four 3’s and 15 points to lead Class AAA No. 6 Lewis County past Class AA No. 8 Chapmanville Regional 69-51 Friday night at the Lewis County High School gymnasium.

Ella Pinkney scored 15 for the Minutemaids, who made 12 of their 35 3-point attempts.

“They (Lewis County) put on one heck of a shooting performance. Their percentage from three tonight was literally better than the Golden State Warriors, I looked it up,” Chapmanville Regional coach Kristina Gore said. “It was also our first trip here, and it was a fantastic place to play. It was a packed gym with passionate fans (and) a loaded student section that was up and engaged the entire game.”

“Kudos to those kids, while they were loud, I also felt they were very respectful of our team. I talked to a few of them, they wished us a safe trip home and even complimented our coaching staff’s shoe game,” Gore said. “Everyone from Coach (Joe) Nichols and staff to PA announcer Jon Tucci were very hospitable. We enjoyed the trip and wish them the best the rest of the season.”

Tied at 14 after one quarter of play, Lewis County outscored Chapmanville Regional, 21-7 in the second quarter to lead 35-21 at halftime. The Minutemaids didn’t stop there, outscoring the Lady Tigers, 17-9, in the third quarter to take a 52-30 lead after three quarters of play.

“We’ve got to be able to stay composed during shooting droughts and value the basketball. At one point they stretched the lead out to 26,” Gore said. “We were able to compose ourselves with a couple minutes left in the third quarter. From there I felt we finished out the game really strong and finally made a few buckets.”

Chapmanville Regional outscored the hosts 21-17 in the fourth quarter, but a dismal shooting night from 3 (4 for 25) factored with 22 turnovers, which led to 22 Lewis County points, was too much to overcome for Gore’s team.

“I told our team in the locker room after the game, that we would look back on this loss later in the year and be thankful for it. The final score was not indicative of how competitive that game truly was. There were three glaring issues that led to an 18-point loss,” Gore said. “To begin with, we shot 18% from behind the arc, and they shot close to 40%. Secondly, our poor shooting performance caused us to lose our composure at key points in the second and third quarters. We aren’t used to missing wide open shots. That caused us to panic and led to them being able to force 22 turnovers for the game.”

“We just didn’t hit enough to make a huge dent in their lead. Lastly, we didn’t find the guts to be able to sit down and keep someone in front of us on defense,” Gore said. “While our defensive rotations are improving, we can’t get ourselves in situations where we need the help to rotate as much as we did Friday night. Bottom line, we must take more pride in individual on-ball defense.”

Jaiden Mahon posted a double-double, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds while Haley Fleming finished with 13 points for Chapmanville Regional. Brooke Christian just missed double figures finishing with nine points and eight rebounds while Jaycee Blair had six points to go along with nine rebounds.

“We do take a strong look at the analytics of each game in key categories, but we don’t dismiss the part that the emotions of the game play into those numbers. If we are having even an average shooting night, I believe our girls would’ve played with a lot more composure against their pressure and with more energy on defense,” Gore said. “That’s where the true lesson lies. We cannot allow our offense to fuel our defense. If you want to be a championship team, your defensive energy must be consistent every single night regardless of how well you’re shooting.”

Chapmanville, who fell to 1-1 with the loss, made 20 of its 56 shot attempts from the field. Lewis County (1-0) made 25 of its 65 shot attempts and only turned the ball over 13 times, nine fewer than the Lady Tigers.

“Overall, the pulse of the team right now is still strong. We’re not going to let this loss hurt us moving forward. We’ll take the lessons learned and apply them moving forward. I’m still proud of the effort I’m seeing, especially in the areas we identified that we needed to improve on,” Gore said. “We had 11 more turnovers than they did but only allowed 9 more shots attempts than what we got, which means we are battling hard on the offensive and defensive glass. We also did a great job at times creating shots for others. I mean we had wide open looks at it all night. Just couldn’t buy a bucket.”

Chapmanville returns to action Thursday in its home opener against county rival Logan and Gore could have the services of last season’s leading scorer and first-team Class AA all-state selection Alaira Evans, who has set out the first two games due to injury.

Her recovery is going well, but we most definitely haven’t been rushing things. When she’s ready to go, it’s going to add a huge piece for us that will give us added depth, more length defensively, and we all know how well she can score the basketball,” Gore said. I believe we’re going to be tough to handle if we can shore up the lack of composure we had at times in this game. I’m not concerned with the off-shooting night. I believe in our kids and their talents. They will right that ship.”

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