They say defense wins championships.
If that’s the case, Fairmont Senior may be well on its way when it comes time for the state tournament.
But for now, the Lady Polar Bears (5-1, 3-0 Big 10) focused their stingy defense on Robert C. Byrd (3-2, 2-2 Big 10).
No. 3 Fairmont Senior, led by junior guard Emily Stoller, bullied the Eagles en route to a 77-33 victory Thursday night at the Marion County Armory.
The Eagles were coming off a win over No. 4 Bridgeport, but that wasn’t what Fairmont Senior head coach Corey Hines and his girls were thinking about.
“Each game was different and the way I personally felt was that they have a great coach and coaching staff, but they beat us twice last year,” Hines said. “So the only thing I could focus on was that they beat us twice.”
Fairmont Senior forced a plethora of turnovers and made plenty of buckets to keep the Eagles confused for most of the first half.
Hines said the girls know they need to bring it when they’re at home, and that’s what they did.
After taking a 10-point lead into the second quarter, the Polar Bears went on to finish the half with a 19-0 run, followed by a 19-1 run to open the second half.
“I tell the girls, we’ve got to protect our home court because those (other schools) are tough places to play,” he said.
Defense has always been something that he has wanted to focus on, the coach said.
“You’ve got to set the tone defensively if you want to win these games,” Hines said. “That’s the one thing that significantly changes the game. Sometimes you can be cold shooting, but defensively you’ve got to stay hot.”
Stoller and teammate Kaden Whaley went to work, and it was business as usual for the tandem as Stoller drilled home 25 points to go along with Whaley’s 19.
Freshman guard Erica Bowles also added 12 points, speaking to the depth of this Fairmont Senior lineup.
“That’s the sign of the kids working hard,” Hines said of the depth. “I’m very proud of them. Erica Bowles came in and changed the tempo. Jasmine Johnson, playing hurt. Tyaina Horton, one of our toughest players. And Emily and Kaden, they’re playing great ball. And you’ve got another freshman in Abby (Stoller).”
While it was a true team effort in the win over the upset-minded Eagles, Hines said there’s still room for improvement and that every game is different.
“While I kind of like some of the stuff we’re doing, we still have to get better,” he said. “I don’t feel we played our best basketball.”
When your team is coming off a 44-point victory and your coach doesn’t feel you’ve played your best basketball, where do go from there?
You get focused, Hines said.
“I don’t want to play (our best basketball) right now,” he said. “I want to play it in March.”
With a long road ahead, Hines feels the girls are well on their way, but they’re still taking a one-game-at-a-time approach.
That next game is a week and a day away when his Fairmont Senior team travels for its Holiday Classic tournament.
Email Matt Welch at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.
They say defense wins championships.
Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS
Last week East Fairmont’s girls’ tennis team beat Fairmont Senior, 4-3.
Wednesday at Fairmont State University, the Polar Bears returned the favor with a 5-2 win over their cross-town rival.
Alissa Link won No. 1 singles, 8-4. Morgan Hoke won No. 3 singles, 9-7. And Avery Towns won No. 4 singles, 8-5, for the Polar Bears.
Falcons set for spring game
Football is back … well, kind of.
Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.
HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age
The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
“There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”
Hillberry commits to Wesleyan
Last year Emma Harrison and Kaitlyn Conaway teamed up with Alexis Hillberry to win several relay medals at the state track meet.
Though the two West Virginia Wesleyan runners are now in college, they helped to pass the baton to Hillberry Wednesday when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join her former teammates on the Bobcats’ track team.
O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall
Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.
North, East softball earn blowout wins
The North Marion softball team was at it again Wednesday night.
Mattie Polling tripled and singled, starting pitcher Chelsi Latocha doubled and gave up just one hit as the Huskies rolled to another 3-inning mercy-rule victory over Lewis County, 18-1.
Simon, Bruce lead Reds past Bucs, 5-2
Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four.
Pens squander lead, fall to Columbus
Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Cousins Sansalone, Craig lead Polar Bears past B-U: PHOTOS
They say you don’t mess with family. Buckhannon-Upshur found that one out the hard way.
Mascaro signs with FSU
Gabi Mascaro is staying in Fairmont.
After considering several out-of-state colleges, the Fairmont Senior soccer standout signed her National Letter of Intent Tuesday to continue her career at Fairmont State University, an upstart program which will play its first games in 2015.
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