FAIRMONT, W.Va. — North Marion’s girls basketball team was looking for an early statement victory this season after splitting its first two games against Wayne and Hampshire.
The Huskies answered the call Wednesday by handing Marion County rival East Fairmont its first season loss, 64-51.
The Bees (4-1) were held to a season-low 51 points.
“We came out and played tough,” said North Marion head coach Mike Parrish. “I told them that whichever team played the hardest and gave the most effort would have the best chance tonight. We played them in the fall league and they beat us. We talked about coming over here and keeping the streak going.”
East Fairmont head coach James Beckman was not pleased with his team’s effort Wednesday evening.
“We were not disciplined on what we do as our defensive identity,” Beckman noted. “We have to do a better job of staying disciplined. We chased a lot and caused transitional play for them. We put them on the free-throw line more than we liked. As a veteran team, you have to be disciplined when you play teams of that caliber. We know better than that.”
Frostburg State commit Olivia Toland poured in a game-high 24 points, converting on all 13 of her attempts at the charity stripe.
“She played like a senior tonight,” Parrish noted. “She hit shots, got to the rim and line, and was a force out on the floor.”
North Marion (2-1) applied full court pressure to up its intensity and used it for an 8-0 second-quarter spurt.
“Our defense was the main thing,” Parrish said. “We did a good job not letting [Kenly] Rogers get into the paint. We let her drive in twice and score. That was one of not letting her get to the rim and score. We did a good job at that.”
East Fairmont senior forward Morgan Cochran pieced together a double-double of 14 points and rebounds. Six of her 13 first-half points came in the final few minutes of the second quarter and East Fairmont closed on an 8-2 spurt to cut North Marion’s lead to 34-28 going into halftime.
“The flow is something we have emphasized with her,” Beckman said. “We want the game to flow to her and not her to try and find the game. She let her come to her, and she had a great game. She was a handful tonight, and I am proud of her for that.”
The Bees’ early turnovers during possessions led to numerous runouts by the Huskies and North Marion upped its lead to 51-39 entering the fourth quarter.
“We tried to speed them up by our pace of the game and to get up and down the court,” Parrish noted. “We had a lot of transition opportunities. However, we left some down there in the first half. We had the pace of the game we wanted, and that is how we like to play.”
Despite the outcome, Beckman remains optimistic about his veteran group.
“This loss does not define us,” Beckman stated. “We are 4-1, and we will be fine. We will regroup and have a great practice tomorrow, and we will let them off for the holidays. We will get right back and prepare for Westside and Shady Spring. This team will be hungry for its next game.”