CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Taryn McCutcheon scored 23 points, including eight consecutive free throws in the final 45 seconds, and Parkersburg South survived a 3-point try at the buzzer by Morgantown’s Leah Taylor to win their Class AAA semifinal 54-51 on Friday night.
Parkersburg South’s freshman point guard made her last two foul shots with four seconds left, but second-seeded Morgantown pushed the ball downcourt, with Olivia Seggie passing to the right wing, where Taylor had an open look from 24 feet.
“We got a pretty good look at a 3-point shot, it just didn’t go our way,” said Morgantown coach Adam Henkins, whose team ended its season 20-6.
Taylor said she thought her desperation 3 was going down to force overtime.
“We do this thing at the end of practice called ‘bombs away’ where we shoot from halfcourt, and it got us prepared for that situation,” said Taylor, who finished with 14 points. “I really thought it was going in.”
Said McCutcheon, who also thought Taylor’s long shot was on line: “I couldn’t breathe.”
Instead, it glanced off the front of the rim and third-seeded Parkersburg South (17-7) avenged two previous losses to Morgantown. The Patriots will face Logan on Saturday night for the Class AAA state title.
The Patriots trailed 31-23 at the half but with 7:02 left in the fourth quarter, McCutcheon’s 3-pointer gave South a 39-38 lead.
Later, McCutcheon spun in the lane and threw up a tear-drop floater that gave South a 46-42 cushion. But the Mohigans answered to even the game at 46 on Alicia Golden’s free throws.
Keya Bartlett had 14 points and six rebounds, and Anna Hayton added five points and 11 boards for the Patriots, who out-rebounded Morgantown 38-33.
“To win a state championship you’ve got to be lucky sometimes, and (South) definitely got most of the 50-50 balls,” Henkins said.
Ashley Holloway and Caroline Colombo scored eight points each for the Mohigans, who committed 13 of their 21 turnovers in the second half.
— CJ Ricker