FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Having seen its 16-point third-quarter lead vanish by the midway point of the fourth, Fairmont Senior’s girls basketball team needed someone to deliver in the late stages of Thursday’s contest against Lincoln.
Normally, that task would fall on sophomore Marley Washenitz, an explosive guard and the focal point of the opposition’s game plan.
This time, it happened to be a classmate of Washenitz — sophomore guard Emily Starn — who came up big down the stretch.
Starn made a short jumper to erase a one-point deficit, before knocking home a corner three-pointer to ignite a late 9-0 run that allowed the Polar Bears to top the Cougars, 52-44.
Those five points were all the scoring Starn did — though they couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Emily Starn made a couple really big buckets. She took a three that I was thinking, ‘I don’t know’, but she made it,” Polar Bears’ head coach Corey Hines said. “It looked great and like we drew that up. We really didn’t. That took guts. She stepped up and made a big shot.”
Lincoln (8-5) had trailed 35-19 in the third quarter after Washenitz opened the period with a pair of layups and Bekah Jenkins made two triples during a 10-2 run out of halftime.
But the Cougars cut the Fairmont Senior (11-2) advantage to 38-30 by the end of the third after Madi Martin connected from behind the arc for the final points of the period.
Lincoln carried that momentum into the fourth, which it began on a 10-1 run that featured a conventional three-point play from Hannah Ferris followed by Victoria Sturm’s three-pointer with 4:20 remaining.
Starn responded with the next five points and Washenitz made 4-of-4 free throws to give the Polar Bears a 48-40 advantage with 1:30 to play.
“We worked ourselves back into it and even took the lead and then they were up one and she hit the shot in the corner. That was probably the biggest shot of the game,” Cougars’ head coach Rob Hawkins said. “We were trying to make somebody else but Washenitz beat us and give her credit for stepping up and making a big shot.”
Lincoln got off to a strong start and built a 10-2 lead that was 12-6 after one quarter.
A Ferris three gave Lincoln a 17-13 advantage, before Jenkins scored five points during a 10-0 run to end the half.
“We came out attacking them and they ended up going to that 2-3 (zone) in the halfcourt and we stopped attacking it,” Hawkins said. “We got passive and had a hard time scoring.”
Washenitz led all players with 24 points and added a team-high eight rebounds. Jenkins scored 13 to give FSHS a second player in double figures.
After being out-rebounded 10-2 in the opening quarter, the Polar Bears got the better of Lincoln on the boards the rest of the way, 28-21.
“We changed a few things defensively and the rebounding changed,” Hines said of overcoming the slow start. “We made a couple substitutions and kind of got on them about giving up second and third opportunities. You can’t do that against Lincoln.”
Brynne Williams led Lincoln with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Sturm scored 12. The Cougars had 18 turnovers in the loss.