SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Jason White had seen what classified as hesitancy to shoot from the perimeter from Frankfort’s Halley Smith during Friday’s North-South All-Star Basketball Classic at South Charleston Community Center.
So when Smith took a pass from Parkersburg South’s Skyler Bosley behind the 3-point line with time winding down and the South leading 59-57, White was hoping the Falcons’ standout would let it fly in what marked the former Morgantown coach’s final game coaching in West Virginia.
Sure enough, Smith had the presence of mind to do just that, and her triple swished through just before the buzzer sounded, giving the North a 60-59 victory.
“I knew we needed 2 to tie it, but that felt real good coming off,” Smith said. “I was expecting her to drive and then I got the kick and let it go. It fell for me. It felt really good. I was shaking afterwards with the adrenaline and everything. It feels good to win a game like that, especially because all the girls on the court are here to play and they all deserve to be here.”
FINAL: North 60, South 59
Halley Smith of Frankfort beats the buzzer with a 3-pointer to win it for the North.
Parkersburg South’s Skyler Bosley led North with 17 points.
— Greg Carey (@gcarey938) June 10, 2022
White is moving to North Carolina after his wife accepted a job at East Carolina. He manned the sidelines Friday with close friend Ryan Young, head coach at Wheeling Park.
“It’s ironic that Halley hit that shot because we’d been on her the entirety of the game about it’s really physical and hard to get in the paint against them, because they’re really long and athletic,” White said. “We stressed we have to be ready to shoot the ball from the outside.
“She was really tentative to do it and kept attacking the rim. For the ball to find her at the three-point line at the end of the game was fitting. I told [George Washington and South head coach Jamie LaMaster] when I shook his hand, ‘the basketball Gods grabbed that ball and put it in so I could win one last one here.’”
Smith’s 3 gave her 11 points in the win and capped an impressive North comeback that featured a rally from as much as 11 down (37-26). However, after scoring 10 unanswered points to end the third quarter, the North pulled to within one to start the fourth.
“In a lot of all-star games, you don’t get much defense,” White said. “I always hung my hat on being a defensive coach. We got down eleven and the greatest part was the kids didn’t stop believing. I was able to lean on my assistant coach Ryan Young, so we pressed and got right back in the game.”
Clay-Battelle’s Alivia Ammons delivered a pair of pivotal threes in the fourth — two of the North’s four triples over the final 5:20. The first trimmed the South lead tp 44-42, while the latter came in response to a bucket from Greenbrier East’s Daisha Summers that brought the North to within 48-47.
When Bosley scored inside with 2:05 left, the North held a one-point lead, and it was still that way when North Marion’s Katlyn Carson scored from close range with 1:26 remaining.
However, Summers scored inside, though Smith answered with a pair of free throws that left the North with a 53-52 lead at the 1-minute mark.
PikeView’s Hannah Perdue answered with a 3, and following a North turnover, Perdue made two free throws, giving the South a four-point edge and what looked to be control of the contest.
But Bosley made two free throws with 19 seconds left, and after Perdue split a pair from the line, Smith scored inside with 11 seconds left to bring the North to within one point at 58-57.
“We still had time left on the clock, so there’s always time for them to turn it over,” Smith said. “We get the ball back. Taking it to the hole, you have a higher percentage shot than trying to make a 3, so that was definitely something we looked for.”
Perdue once again split two foul shots with 8 seconds left, setting the stage for Smith’s game winner.
Bosley had three of the North’s 10 triples and was named the team’s most valuable player after leading the way with 17 points. Although Smith was the only other double figure scorer in the win, Gilmer County’s Emma Taylor scored nine.
Woodrow Wilson’s Olivia Ziolkowski, bound for Marshall to play basketball, led all players with 19 points. Ziolkowski was a steady inside presence and had a game-high six field goals while making 7-of-11 free throws.
“I see my competition and most of the time, there aren’t girls as big as I am,” Ziolkowski said. “I kind of know that’s my go to, trying to bully them down in the paint. That’s what I like to do and what I do best.”
Perdue added 13 points and Capital’s Talayah Boxley scored eight.