Sure, the team isn’t the same.
The leadership isn’t there with just one senior. The nine freshmen on the team prove that most of the key piece are gone. Still, no matter how you slice it, the defending state champion is the defending state champion.
And as North Marion’s girls’ basketball coach Mike Parrish put it Thursday evening after knocking off the Indians at Bridgeport High School, 63-50, “Any time you beat the defending state champs it’s always good.”
It’s certainly better than the alternative, at least.
The Huskies (8-2, 2-1 Big 10) were led by senior forward Anna Marie Moscufo, who scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Asked for the formula for her success, Moscufo put it simply: “Just hustling, rebounding and boxing out.”
While Moscufo was collecting rebounds, Megan Haller took control of the scoring. She put up 18 points.
The sophomore was a key contributor last season for the Huskies, but has continued to show improvement and maturity with each game.
“I had to do a lot of growing up over the summer, especially mentally,” she said. “I had a lot to prepare for because I knew that I had to step up this year. I just tried to expand my game and get a little bit more diversity in how I play.”
It showed Thursday when she connected on two 3-pointers. Then when Bridgeport edged out to take away her outside shooting, Haller took the Indians off the dribble to create her own shot.
“I think she’s progressed a lot,” Moscufo said of her teammate. “She doesn't just run and gun. She works the ball around better and knows when to pass it into the post.”
Freshman guard Presley Tuttle also scored in double figures with 12 points, six of which came in the fourth quarter.
North Marion got off to an early 8-1 lead, but Bridgeport went on a 11-7 run to cut North Marion’s lead to 15-12 at the end of the first quarter. Then in the second, North Marion outscored the Indians 19-10 to take a double-digit lead into halftime.
The defending Class AA champions chipped away at the lead, but were never able to make it closer than a few possessions. North Marion closed it out for its fourth straight win and sixth in seven tries.
The lone loss during that stretch was a 3-point defeat at the hands of Wheeling Park, who just so happens to be the Huskies’ next opponent on Saturday.
The Huskies said they are ready for the rematch.
"We really have got to step it up,” Moscufo said. “We can beat them if we play together and play to our potential."
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.
Sure, the team isn’t the same.
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
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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- Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS