Lady Indians hold off Musselman
Berkeley Springs High School girls basketball coach Dale McCumbee has preached the importance of free throw shooting all year long. He has tried impressing on his team that close games are usually lost or won at the charity stripe. His words will resonate more clearly in the locker room now, because of the way Berkeley Springs secured their thrilling 50-46 win over Musselman, in Bunker Hill on Thursday, February 1.
The Indians scored 20 more points than Musselman from the line, and made 15 of 21 free throw attempts with the game on the line in the final quarter.
"We talk about the importance of making free throws all of the time," McCumbee said. "It is an important part of the game that we had been struggling with until recently. Thankfully, we are making a much higher percentage of our free throws and need to continue doing so as we enter the final part of the season. There is no doubt that free throws were the difference in the game tonight."
After trailing for most of the game, Berkeley Springs opened the final quarter on a 7-0 run, to take a 34-32 lead, before a basket from Musselman's Taylor Moore tied the game at 34-34. Ashley Hovermale then gave Berkeley Springs the lead for good, when she buried a three-point shot, giving the Tribe a 37-34 lead.
The Lady Applemen got to within a single point, 45-44, late in the contest, but clutch free throws from Hovermale and Amber Booher down the stretch sealed the victory for Berkeley Springs.
Musselman held Berkeley Springs at bay through the first three quarters of the game, holding a 12-10 lead after the opening quarter, a 20-18 lead at the half and 32-27 lead after the opening 24 minutes, before Berkeley Springs came on in the final quarter to secure their 11th win of the year.
"I think it does a lot for our confidence," McCumbee said of the win. "We battled the whole game, never gave up and put it together in the final quarter for the win. Coming from behind like this, against a quality opponent on the road, takes a lot of heart and a lot of nerve. This team has shown in the last few games that they know how to win close games."
Booher notched a double-double for the Lady Indians scoring 13 points and ripping down 12 rebounds. Rebecca Trump matched Booher for high point honors with 13, Hovermale and Alex Tamez scored 10 each and Courtney Kesecker four, to round out the offense.
Lacey Williams and Erica Manor led Musselman with 10 points apiece.
A slow start against Hampshire County on Monday, January 29, at Berkeley Springs led to an Indian defeat at the hands of the Trojans, 53-35.
"I guess we came out flat," McCumbee said. "We had some games earlier in the year where we had trouble getting started, but we hadn't done it lately. Tonight we started as slowly as we have all year and you just can't do that against a team as talented and as good as Hampshire."
Berkeley Springs found itself looking at a 10-point deficit 11-1 as the second quarter began. The only point the Indians manage in the opening eight minutes was a free throw from Tamez.
Berkeley Springs scored 14 points in the second quarter, seven by Trump, but found themselves trailing their Class AAA opponent 27-15 at the break.
Berkeley Springs held their own in the third quarter, scoring 12 points but still trailed, 40-27, heading into the final quarter of regulation. Unable to mount a charge, the Indians saw Hampshire County pull away for the 16-point victory.
Booher led the Indian offense with 12 points, Trump added nine, Kesecker six, Hill four, while Tamez and Hovermale scored two points apiece.
"Hampshire County is a good ball club," said McCumbee. "They present a lot of difficult match-ups and are well coached. They definitely have a chance to make it out of the region this year. When you a play a team this talented you have to play really well and we simply didn't do that tonight."
The junior varsity lost to Musselman 32-23 and to Hampshire County 38-26.
Shauni Stevens and Lesley Yost led the Indians against the Lady Applemen with seven and six points, respectively while Jessica Haynes and Megan Risinger scored 11 and seven points, respectively, in the loss to Hampshire.
Berkeley Springs will play at East Hardy tomorrow, Thursday, February 8, in Baker, before playing in the PVC Night of Champions on Saturday, February 10. Details of the PVC Night of Champions were still unknown at press time. Berkeley Springs will end the regular season on Valentines Day, February 14 at Jefferson County.