The Times West Virginian

December 28, 2013

Polar Bears rout Frankfort, 76-19: PHOTOS

By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The holidays are known as the season of giving.

Evidently someone forgot to tell the Fairmont Senior girls’ basketball team that.

Like the Grinch, the Polar Bears were in a stealing mood Friday night when they used a swarming trap defense to take the ball away 15 times on their way to a dominant 76-19 victory over Frankfort at the Woody Williams Armory.

“Defensively we turned it up,” Fairmont Senior coach Corey Hines said. “We got in those passing lanes and we were able to get a lot of layups.

“As a coach, defense is something you’ve got to do every day. The majority of our practices are spent working on trapping, working jumping passes, talking on defense. We still have stuff we have to work on, but the kids played hard and I’m proud of that.”

Fairmont Senior (6-1, 4-0 Big 10) forward Kaden Whaley set the tone defensively, snatching eight steals to go along with 11 points and six rebounds. She was on pace for a triple double at intermission but sat for a good portion of the second half because of the lopsided score.

With Christmas decorations glistening on houses nearby, it was freshman Erica Bowles who lit up the scoreboard for the Polar Bears. She scored a career-high 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for a double-double.

“Off the bench, too!” Hines added emphatically when presented with the statistics.

“Erica to me is a breath of fresh air,” he said. “She comes in and she brings us energy. She brings us offense. And she just wants to play. Probably right now, she’s going to go home and shoot.”

This passion for basketball led Bowles to recruit her father to rebound for her. The energy and emotion the freshman adds off the bench is apparently evident on the driveway basketball hoop, too, as her father is now on crutches after a basketball injury.

“She doesn’t care. If we go to an alley she’ll be ready to play,” Hines said. “Any team that is great, you’ve got to have that spiritual lift off the bench. Erica gives us that.”

Plenty of others had an opportunity to pitch in off the bench as well.

Playing in reserve roles, Colby Thorne posted eight points and eight rebounds and Emily Hershberger had seven points. It went along with the usual production from the starters, including Emily Stoller (nine points, eight rebounds), Jasmine Johnson (seven points), Abigail Stoller (five points, six rebounds) and Tyaina Horton (three points).

The Polar Bears will take the court again Thursday when they host Grafton.

Hines said, “We’ll be back to work.”

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