CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One day after seeing standout George Washington guard Kalissa Lacy net 37 points in a victory over Woodrow Wilson, Cabell Midland was determined not to let Lacy end its season.
A stellar defensive effort enabled the Knights to slow Lacy and earn a 49-35 victory over third-seeded GW in a state semifinal at the Charleston Coliseum.
“She’s tough to guard, but I love playing her,” said Midland sophomore Jayda Allie, who drew the assignment on Lacy for most of the game. “It’s fun. She’s good competition. You have to get her off the three-point line. They staggered screens, so I had to learn to get around them.”
The win allows Cabell Midland (14-3) to play in its first state title game, where it will face top seed Huntington in the inaugural Class AAAA final Saturday.
Lacy scored 17 points, but was held to 5-of-19 shooting, including 1-of-7 on three-pointers.
“Jayda played her the best and her strength is defense,” CMHS coach Matt Adkins said. “There were times she got by her, but our help was great.”
Even with the strong defensive showing, CMHS couldn’t pull away from the Patriots (14-4) until the third quarter. After scoring only three second-quarter points, Midland went to halftime leading 17-16.
“They play tough and they got a little physical with us,” Adkins said. “We expected that, but we didn’t make them play us. We took what they gave us. They packed it in and we took some threes we shouldn’t have taken.”
But the Knights ran off the first nine points of the second half to take a 10-point lead and never looked back. The key surge to begin the second half featured two baskets from Jazmyn Wheeler, a three-pointer from Allie and K.K. Potter’s layup.
“I thought we were a couple shots away from maybe them getting a little stressed, but credit Cabell Midland for going on that quick run,” GW coach Jamie LaMaster said. “My girls have heard me say it a bunch before, but a lot of times the first three or four minutes of the third quarter will dictate the rest of the game and that happened this evening.”
The Knights settled for a 32-21 lead entering the fourth quarter and never let the Patriots get closer than nine in the final period. Nine of the Knights’ 17 points in the fourth quarter came at the free-throw line.
The Patriots, meanwhile made only 5-of-16 shots in the fourth, preventing them from putting much of a scare into CMHS down the stretch. The Knights had previously beaten GW twice this season, but by a total of four points.
“I told my assistants I thought this one would come down the end,” Adkins said.
Wheeler registered a double-double of 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, helping Midland out-rebound GW, 35-28.
“I was really fighting for the ball in there and I think I wanted the ball more than anybody else on that court,” Wheeler said. “It worked out pretty well.”
Allie scored 10, Autumn Lewis added nine and Potter had eight on 4-of-5 shooting.
Macie Mallory’s two three-pointers allowed her to finish as GW’s second-leading scorer with six points.
The Patriots were held to 28 percent shooting in the season-ending setback.
“We’re all blessed to have had the opportunity to play this year,” Lacy said. “The season wasn’t guaranteed. We have a lot to be proud of. This is an amazing group of girls and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to play with them.”