MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — University held Morgantown scoreless for the first 6:49 of the second half, allowing the Hawks to rally from a seven-point deficit for a 54-42 victory Thursday night in the Class AAA Region I, Section 2 title game.
Trailing 25-18 at halftime, the Hawks (19-5) scored the first 10 points of the third quarter and took the lead for good on a Zoe Murphy 3-pointer that made it 26-25. Murphy followed with two free throws at the 1:57 mark to up the advantge to three points, before Sydni Clawges made one free throw with 1:11 to play in the quarter for the Mohigans’ first point of the second half.
“We just talked to the girls about what got us to this point and what we had to do in the second half to get back to that point and that was play some defense,” University coach David Price said. “The defense created the offense and we started playing like we should. We got comfortable with the lead and played smart clock management.”
Murphy and Morgantown’s Kaitlyn Ammons traded 3s to end the quarter leaving UHS with a 31-29 lead ahead of the fourth.
Over the final eight minutes, University’s Ashten Boggs scored 17 points, including a 15-for-16 effort at the free-throw line.
“I’ve always worked on knowing when to shoot foul shots well when it comes down to it at the end,” Boggs said. “I worked so hard over the summer and in the offseason that I’m so confident in myself when it comes to that.”
Boggs made four free throws within the first 33 seconds of the fourth quarter and added two more with 2:40 remaining to give her team a 42-35 lead after the Mohigans had pulled to within five on Madison Seaman’s layup with 3:04 left.
A Kerrington Peasak 3 allowed Morgantown (14-10) to cut the deficit to 44-38 with 1:49 remaining, but Boggs made a layup at the 1:30 mark to stretch the lead back to eight.
Boggs went 8-of-8 at the free throw line over the final 1:14 to put to rest any thought of a Mohigans’ comeback.
“We got scared to make a mistake in the third quarter and it looked like we didn’t want to lose the game. Because we played not to lose, that’s exactly what happened,” Morgantown coach Jason White said. “They went on a run and we couldn’t hit a bucket. What made us successful in the first half was attacking the lane, making the extra pass and scoring around the rim, but we kind of went away from it.”
The first quarter featured six lead changes and Ammons scored six points to help her team hold a 10-9 lead.
Morgantown started the second quarter with a 6-0 surge and went ahead by seven on Ammons’ jumper.
UHS got the lead down to four and then cut that in half on Murphy’s layup, but Ammons made a 3 and Peasak beat the buzzer with a jumper to send Morgantown into the break up 25-18.
Boogs finished with 26 points and went over the 1,000-point mark for her career in the process. Murphy gave UHS a second double-figure scorer with 10 points.
Ammons led Morgantown with 16 points, 11 of which she scored in the first half.
“We kind of slacked off and in the second half, we tried to front a little bit better to make the entry pass harder,” Price said of his team’s defense on Ammons. “It seemed like they went away from her a little bit and that helped us.”
Clawges added 10 points in the loss.
UHS will play the loser of Friday’s sectional title game between Wheeling Park and John Marshall, while the Mohigans will travel to the winner of the contest with state tournament berths on the line.