By Nick Cammuso
Times West Virginian
One game away.
That is where both Fairmont State’s basketball teams stand when it comes to a chance at a league title going into today’s West Virginia Conference tournament semifinals at the Charleston Civic Center.
FSU’s women, which take on West Liberty for the third time this season at 1 p.m., are gunning for the team’s first trip to the WVIAC finals since 2010. The Falcon men play area rival Alderson-Broaddus at 6:30 p.m.; FSU hasn’t made the league semifinals in 12 years.
The third-seeded Lady Falcons, now 21-9, advanced to the semifinal round with an 11-point win over West Virginia Wesleyan on Wednesday night, 65-54. Fairmont State led by nearly 30 points in the second half.
West Liberty (21-7) is still alive after an 88-87 double overtime win over Shepherd. WVIAC Player of the Year Hillary Southworth scored 27 points before fouling out, and Liz Flowers added 21 to help the Hilltoppers advance.
Fairmont State and West Liberty split the regular season series with each winning on the other's home floor.
The Lady Falcons have the No. 2 ranked defense in the league, holding opponents to 62.0 points per game. They’ve held each of their past two opponents — Wheeling Jesuit and Wesleyan — to less than 32 percent shooting.
In the teams’ most recent meeting at the Joe Retton Arena on Feb. 16, West Liberty shot 50 percent from the field en route to a 72-62 win. Fairmont State is 5-0 since.
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On the men’s side, Fairmont State is fresh off a 77-63 win over Seton Hill in the league quarterfinals. The victory represented a bounce-back for the Falcons after a unlikely road loss to the Griffins last week.
In Thursday’s rematch, FSU had a 50-10 scoring edge in the paint and its point total was the fifth-highest Seton Hill allowed all season.
Also on Thursday, A-B overcame a brief second-half deficit for an 82-69 victory over Glenville State in another quarterfinal matchup.
GSC tied the contest at 45 around the midway mark of the second half and would take the lead three times. However, A-B eventually followed with a 12-0 run to put the game on ice.
Kurklin Bohanon netted a game-high 29 points to lead four double-digit scores. Casey Ainslie finished 15 points; Roy Brown had 12 points and 10 rebounds; and Adam Kline had 12 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
In the lone game between the two this season on Valentine’s Day, Malik Stith scored 22 and Isaac Thornton added 21 to push FSU to an 81-73 win. Both teams hit more than half their shots from the field, but the Falcons were buoyed by a 38 free throw attempts, including a 23-for-30 team showing during the second half.
NOTES: Kaitlin Snyder became just the 12th player in league history and second at FSU to score more than 2,000 points earlier this week. The senior guard, who’s sitting at 2,008 career points, is seven points shy of passing Terri Lovejoy (Concord, Fairmont State) for 11th place on the conference’s all-time scoring list. She trails Kristen Gattuso by 34 points for the school's scoring lead. ... FSU coach Steve McDonald is 1-3 against West Liberty in WVIAC tournament play.
Email Nick Cammuso at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter@NickCammusoTWV.