Berkeley Springs falls in the Tip-Off Classic final
Jefferson overcame a double-digit deficit and overtook Berkeley Springs in the final quarter of the championship game to win the seventh annual Eddie's Tire Tip-Off Classic title, 55-49, on Saturday, December 3, in Berkeley Springs.
The Lady Indians lead, 36-28, after three quarters of play, but couldn't hold on for the win, as the Cougars scored 27 fourth-quarter points to pull out the six-point win.
"This was the first time we've been behind all year and we didn't handle it well," said Berkeley Springs coach Dale McCumbee. “I am confident that will change as the girls start getting experience and more confidence."
The Indians broke open a close game in the second quarter and took a 24-14 lead into the halftime locker room.
"We were a lot more aggressive on the offensive end in the second quarter," McCumbee said. “We took the ball to the basket and got to the free throw line a few times."
The teams traded buckets for most of the third quarter, with Jefferson cutting the Indians lead by two points.
The Cougars kept battling and finally took the lead on a pair of 3-point buckets by Shelby Stanton.
Although those baskets were critical, it was tournament MVP McKinley Thomas who did most of the damage for the Lady Cougars. McKinley, who scored a game-high 23 points, took over down low. When she wasn't finishing near the basket, she was drawing fouls and then converting at the free throw line. In fact, Thomas canned 13 of 17 from the charity stripe.
"She (Thomas) is a good player," McCumbee said. “She is really a dominant post player and is going to give a lot of teams trouble on the inside."
The Indians were led by senior Deidra Burch with 22 points. Casey Solomon, Lauren Schetrompf and Caitlyn Napfel added eight, seven and six, points respectively, while Casandra Burch, Kelsey Delauter and Brittaney Napfel rounded out the offense with two points each.
Berkeley Springs reached the title game with an easy 51-33 win over St. Maria Goretti on Friday night.
The Indians completely dominated the first half. Berkeley Springs scored the first 17 points of the game, and led 15-0 at the end of the opening quarter play, before heading to the intermission with a 23-3 lead.
The Tribe stretched the lead to 34-10 after three quarters of action and then coasted to the tournament final.
Deidra Burch led the Indian offense with 18 points, Solomon, who sat out most of the first half with foul trouble, scored 10, Schetrompf and Sydney Yanez had six points apiece, Casandra Burch added five, Brittaney Napfel four and Caitlyn Napfel two to the Indian total.
Seva Narkute led the Gaels with 12 points, all coming in the final eight minutes.
"I thought we played very well for three quarters," said McCumbee. “We sort of had a little letdown in the final quarter, but overall I was pleased."
The 2-1 Indians will host East Hardy on December 7 and must improve in a couple of areas to have success, according to McCumbee.
"We have to do a better job of finishing," McCumbee said. “We had a lot of scoring opportunities around the basket that we didn't convert. We have to take advantage of those opportunities. And, although we shot the ball better from the free throw line on Saturday than we did the night before, we must be more consistent. You have to convert free throws to win close games, as a general rule. These are things we can fix, so I hope to see some improvement going forward."
Deidra Burch and Caitlyn Napfel were named to the all-tournament team along with Thomas, J.T. Tillman (Goretti), Kelly Martin (Warren County) and Marissa Jones from Jefferson.
Warren County beat St. Maria Goretti in the consolation game.