CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A strong start made all the difference for fifth-seeded Williamstown in Tuesday’s Class AA quarterfinal against No. 4 seed Frankfort.
The Yellowjackets scored the first seven points, led 13-6 after the first quarter and never trailed in a 50-45 victory over the Falcons at the Charleston Coliseum.
“Getting off to that good start really fueled us,” WHS coach Fred Sauro said. “These kids really thought they could play here. The growth of this team is phenomenal.”
Williamstown (17-3) advances to a semifinal Friday against top seed Parkersburg Catholic.
WHS made three three-pointers in each of the first two quarters for 18 of its 29 first-half points. The Yellowjackets also capitalized at the free-throw line, where Jayla Wiseman shot and made all five of her team’s attempts in the opening half.
“They got off to a hot start and we didn’t,” FHS coach Michael Miller said. “That was pretty much what dictated the rest of the game.”
Still, the Falcons (14-4) ran off nine unanswered points in the second quarter to trim a 12-point deficit to 18-15.
But Frankfort managed only three points over the final 3:55 of the opening half, as the Yellowjackets buckled down defensively to take a 29-18 lead into halftime. Williamstown’s Lakyn Joy was responsible for a trio of triples in the first two quarters, including two in the 11-3 spurt to end the half.
“At the beginning, I was a little worried because I didn’t start out too well, but all my teammates and coaches just kept telling me to shoot it.” Joy said.
The Falcons put together their best shooting stretch in the third quarter as they made 5-of-11 field goal attempts and got to within 36-31 ahead of the fourth.
Williamstown, however, never allowed Frankfort to get closer than five in the final period. The Yellowjackets prevented the Falcons from scoring in the fourth until a Marie Perdew jump shot with 2:58 left, which cut the Falcons’ deficit to 41-33.
Although Frankfort used a 7-0 run over 17 seconds to cut Williamstown’s lead to 48-42 with 18 seconds left, the outcome was hardly in doubt down the stretch thanks to the Jackets making 12-of-16 free throws in the final quarter.
WHS finished 17-of-21 on free throws, while Frankfort made 4-of-8 attempts.
“Our free throw percentage as a team is fifty-five percent,” Sauro said. “We just stepped up at the right time.”
Wiseman led WHS with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Joy scored 12 points and Georgie Inman added nine points and nine rebounds in the win.
“Our teamwork is insane right now,” Inman said.
Perdew led the Falcons with 18 points and eight rebounds. Halley Smith had 11 points to go with four steals in defeat.
“There’s only sixteen minutes in a half, and it was tough to come back from a double digit deficit,” Miller said. “I’m proud of their effort in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. They could have packed it in and they fought hard.”