The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 7, 2013

Polar Bears’ comeback falls short

MORGANTOWN — They say it’s not about how you start. Rather, it’s how you finish that matters.

The Fairmont Senior girls’ basketball team was a prime example of this Friday night against Morgantown. Well. .. almost.

Through the first 10 minutes of the contest, the Polar Bears looked flustered, frustrated and flat-out overmatched against the Class AAA opponent. They committed five turnovers and spotted the Mohigans 10 points before recording their first basket.

Junior Kaden Whaley, who led the Fairmont Senior with 16 points, said the start can partially be attributed to nerves since three players were starting for the first time.

“Coach tells us not to be scared,” she said. “We say we’re not scared... but we’re scared.”

It wasn’t the way the Polar Bears wanted to start the game, nor their season. But you know what they say about starts.

The Polar Bears put the shaky start behind them over the next three quarters, finding their rhythm as they went along.

They cut the lead to 18-16, then 36-33. Finally, with about 2:30 remaining, Emily Stoller hit a clutch corner 3-pointer to tie the game at 45.

“We’ve got a bunch of fighters,” Fairmont Senior coach Corey Hines said.

With just a minute and a half remaining, freshman Erica Bowles bowled through the lane and made a diving layup as she fell to the ground, to give the Polar Bears their first lead of the game, 47-45.

The lead, however, was shortlived. Morgantown’s Brie Guillani, who led all scorers with 25 points, sunk a 3-pointer and hit a handful more free throws down the stretch to propel the Mohigans to a 52-49 victory.

“That’s going to happen. She’s a great shooter,” Hines said. “What I’m most proud of are the people who put us in that position. Erica Bowles (14 points) is a freshman. She’s playing beyond her years. Jasmine Johnson (8 points, 7 rebounds) is coming back from injury. She comes back and plays like a beast.

“When you have young girls playing hard, that tells me that later on in the season when everybody is healthy and everybody has a little bit more understanding, we’re going to be a much better team.”

In other words ...

“I told everyone it’s not about how we start the season,” Whaley said. “It’s about how we end the season.”

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

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