FAIRMONT, W.Va. — At halftime of Monday’s game against Mingo Central, East Fairmont girls basketball coach James Beckman was relatively pleased with his team’s showing.
There was, however, one important aspect missing from East Fairmont’s performance that was preventing the Bees from creating separation.
“I thought we played well defensively giving up 13 points in the first half. We’re in the right spots, we’re defending and rebounding and we’re pushing in transition. We just didn’t hit shots,” Beckman said.
In turn, the Bees were clinging to only a 15-13 halftime lead against the Miners after making a mere 6-of-33 field goal attempts through two quarters.
Fortunately for Beckman, his team outscored its first half offensive output in both quarters over the second half and the Bees kept up their strong defense to pull away from Mingo Central for a 50-36 victory.
“We had 33 attempts. We just didn’t hit shots. In the second half, we go 15-for-30, so we started hitting shots,” Beckman said. “You tell the girls, ‘you shot yourselves into a slump, shoot yourselves out of it.’”
The fourth quarter was the difference. After East Fairmont (8-6) took a 31-27 lead into the final frame, the Miners (4-12) drew to within 33-31 on consecutive layups by Maliyah Martin, the latter of which came with 6:35 to play.
But Mingo Central didn’t score again until a Cassidy Cline 3-pointer with 2 minutes left, and by that time the Miners trailed 43-34.
The decisive 10-0 run by EFHS was keyed by eight points from guard Kierra Bartholow, who scored six straight points on a pair of 3s, the second of which upped the Bees’ advantage to 39-31 with 5:05 remaining.
Following a Kianna Casuccio basket off a drive, Bartholow scored from close range to give Beckman’s team a 12-point lead.
Cline’s 3 was answered by a 3 from Kylea Lopez and the Bees led by double figures the rest of the way down the stretch.
“We knew our numbers compared to theirs and we wanted to wear them down in the second half,” Beckman said. “Keep pushing the ball in transition and apply that pressure defensively. I thought we wore them down in the fourth quarter.”
After a sluggish first half offensively from both teams, EFHS began the third quarter with consecutive field goals from Mackenzie Tennant and Avery Pack to take a six-point lead.
When Somer Stover’s layup later in the third quarter was followed by consecutive baskets by Casuccio, the Bees held a 28-18 lead at the 2:03 mark and appeared on their way to breaking it open.
Instead, a Scareltt Thomason 3 closed the Miners’ deficit to seven, and Mingo Central answered a Kayla Corley layup with a 6-0 run that featured five points by Savannah Hinton to get as close as 30-27 late in the third quarter.
Bartholow led the Bees with 14 points, while Casuccio and Pack scored 10 apiece in the win. Pack also came down with 10 rebounds to record a double double, while Stover added nine rebounds.
The Bees finished with 62 field goal attempts compared to 47 for the Miners. That was in large part due to Mingo Central finishing with 24 turnovers and East Fairmont only eight.
Thomason’s 14 points led MCHS, while Martin had 10 points and seven rebounds. Hinton added nine points and nine boards in the loss.