WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Wyoming East had been held under 40 points twice leading into Saturday’s matchup against Mingo Central. Both games resulted in losses, including once against the Miners a few weeks back.
Mingo Central’s physical defense made the difference Saturday in a 45-39 victory over regional foe Wyoming East, giving the Miners the girls title in the Battle for the Springhouse at The Greenbrier.
It was the second victory this season for Mingo Central (18-1) in three games against the Warriors (14-3).
“We know Wyoming East and who they are,” said Mingo Central head coach Kim Davis-Smith. “They are a great program with great players and coaches. We knew it was going to be a battle. We had a particular game plan that we thought we could utilize, and we did it. We will probably face them again down the line.
“We have talked about withstanding the storm and not quitting and giving up. We are maturing as a team.”
Since its loss to Wyoming East back on December 22, the Miners have reeled off 10 consecutive victories, and defense has keyed the successful stretch.
“When you play people more, you pick up on more tendencies,” Davis-Smith noted. “We game prep, unlike other people. We do that a lot. It is not that others do not, but we do it more, it seems. It is important with outcomes in games.”
Mingo Central has been able to hold Wyoming East below its scoring average twice this season. The Miners turned the Warriors over 11 times, including seven in the first half.
“We have been able to do that a few times now, including when we played them at home,” Davis-Smith stated. “They can be prolific with their scoring. We felt like stopping transition points was important as well. I think it speaks for itself when discussing our defense.”
The Miners’ regular season will conclude next Saturday with games against Gilmer County in the Par Mar Shootout and then at Summers County.
While those are stern challenges, Davis-Smith winning at The Greenbrier should only help down the stretch.
“I think it is a confidence builder for our kids,” Davis-Smith said. “We had a few moments where we did not make good decisions, but I think people took ownership and scored at different times. People stepping up and being confident in themself gives our players confidence. Any time you beat a quality team like Wyoming East, it gives you confidence.”
Sophomore guard Addie Smith led all scorers with 17 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Smith made all four of her free throw attempts.
“She has to battle and she gets a lot of the physical play,” Davis-Smith said. “I am glad she made her second three because she would have been in trouble. Addie does have that instinct sometimes. She is a great player. Addie is the heart of our team regarding how we run certain things offensively.”
Davis-Smith also credits other people stepping up whenever Smith is not scoring how she’s capable of. Sophomore Delaney Grimmett also finished in double-figures with 10 points.
“Our people stepping up and doing their part takes our team to another level,” Davis-Smith noted. “We had other pieces of the puzzle with Addie getting to ball to other people with her court vision. We are a different team when that happens.”
Wyoming East’s Cadence Blackburn and Maddie Clark combined for 23 points. Blackburn led the team with 13 points, all but one of which came off of 3-pointers.