By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Plenty of superlatives can be thrown around to describe the Fairmont Senior girls’ basketball team.
Dominant, up-tempo and aggressive are just a few that come to mind when talking about a squad that has lost just one game in 14 tries, regularly outscoring its opponents by double digits.
Saturday when the Polar Bears made just eight of 28 foul shots and were outscored in the third and fourth quarters, the team needed something more.
“I’ll say this: my team is tough,” said coach Corey Hines after defeating Grafton 64-58 at Woody Williams Armory. “I love my team. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Fairmont Senior (13-1) started the game in much of the same way it has all season, running out to an early 17-7 first-quarter lead using its signature trap defense.
Kelsey Morrone scored nine of the 17 points in the quarter, all from 3-point range.
“I’ve been working extra on my shots and my teammates were finding me when I was open,” said the senior, who finished the game with 13 points.
The Polar Bears extended their lead to 35-20 by the end of the second quarter. But Grafton responded.
The Bearcats (10-4) went on a 13-2 run to start the third quarter. It cut the Polar Bears’ lead to just six, 39-33. They went on to outscore Fairmont Senior 38-29 in the second half.
“They wanted it more at that particular moment,” said Hines. “Playing from behind they had a difference sense of urgency.”
Led by Tessa Clark (15 points), Hannah Griffith (14 points) and Kaelyn Drainer (13 points), the Bearcat got as close at 54-52 with three minutes remaining.
But over the next three minutes, the Polar Bears’ resiliency came through to close the game out.
“We’re a very confident team,” said Emily Stoller, who paced the Polar Bears with 20 points and seven rebounds. “We know if we do what it takes, we can win every game.”
Kaden Whaley also joined Stoller and Morrone in double figures with 16 points. Jasmine Johnson (five points), Ty Horton (four points), Abigail Stoller (four points) and Taylor Toothman (two points) also pitched in.
Fairmont Senior will look to run its winning streak to 14 games Tuesday at Preston.
Email Mike DeFabo at timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.