Gallery by Heather Belcher
New Richmond – With a week until sectional play defending Class AA state champion Wyoming East sent a message to the challengers of its crown – taking it won’t be easy.
The Class AA top-ranked Lady Warriors built an early lead and never let go, trampling Class AA No. 7 Chapmanville 68-41 Saturday afternoon in New Richmond.
The win secured a regional sweep for East heading into postseason play with eight of the nine victories coming by double digits.
With a chance to earn a statement win, Chapmanville got punched in the mouth early and never recovered. True to her boxing bloodline, Cadee Blackburn was the one delivering the blows. The junior all-stater finished with a team-high 23 points, connecting on 7 of 10 3-point attempts.
Of those 23 points, 20 came in the first half.
“I think she’s shooting it really well right now,” East head coach Ryan Davidson said. “She’s in a nice place and I think that one of the good things about this group is, if she’s feeling it, then they’re going to throw it to her. If Kyndal (Lusk) or Maddie (Clark) or somebody else has made the shots, we’re gonna throw it to them. They’re so unselfish. So yeah, if she gets on a heater we’re going to keep feeding her.”
Often needing to see one go in to find her groove, Blackburn ignited early, nailing her first trey after Lusk grabbed an offensive rebound and found her on the wing. Jaycee Blair found Alaira Evans the next trip down for Chapmanville to make it 3-2, but the Tiger offense went cold, going without a point over the next five minutes.
The Tigers missed just three shots over that period but turned the ball over four times and East left no meat on the bone, ripping a 12-0 run over that span with points from Blackburn, Gabby Cameron and sisters Kenna and Charleigh Price.
“We’ve been working really hard on winning the quarter and just breaking it down one quarter at a time,”Davidson said. “We’re taking it one possession at a time, because I think we’ve kind of gotten into a pattern of trying to win the game on one position. And I thought that helped us a ton. And they were ready to go. They knew this was a big game.”
Evans eventually snapped Chapmanville’s skid with a pair of 3s and Jaiden Mahon later added a layup to cut the deficit at 15-10. An East timeout preceded another Blackburn 3 stemming a tide that turned into more of gentle splash. Blackburn and Charleigh Price were true on a pair of free throws early in the second quarter, extending the lead to double digits again.
It never fell below that margin with East taking a 41-24 advantage into the locker room.
Turnovers again proved to be an issue when Chapmanville went cold as the Tigers had 11 giveaways at the break. They helped East in pushing the tempo as the Lady Warriors finished with 12 assists on 14 made field goals in the first half, seven of which came courtesy of Maddie Clark.
“So a lot of the things that I saw on film from our game with Scott on Thursday were here again,” Chapmanville head coach Kristina Gore said. “We were extremely sloppy and you know, we watched the film, and we talked about making sure that we do all the little things right. You have to be disciplined, you cannot be careless with the basketball and you have to make hard cuts, have to box out and rebound. You can’t just assume you’re going out-jump somebody. And the little things are what get you blown out against really good teams. And it’s incredibly frustrating. We have a very talented team but we do not have a team that wants to remain disciplined and focused one possession at a time and do the little things.”
Chapmanville fared no better in the second half, watching its shooting percentage drop from 42 percent in the first half to 38 percent for the game (33 percent in the second half). It cut down on its turnovers by two but still finished with 20 for the game and allowed Clark (14 points and 10 assists) and Abi Baker (10 points and four steals) to cause havoc.
“I think it’s our discipline,” Davidson said. “Our defense has gotten way more disciplined, and it hadn’t been for the last couple of games. That’s another thing that we spent time on this week – stop trying to win the game on one steal. Stop reaching, just keep people in front, move your feet and be disciplined with your gap control. And you could tell a big difference. We had better gap integrity today.”
Evans, who finished with a game-high 24 points, was 9 of 14 from the field but her teammates finished a combined 6 of 26.
East finished 25 of 56 (45 percent) from the floor, going 10 of 24 (42 percent) from downtown.
Chapmanville (12-8) will host Summers County on Monday while Wyoming East (17-2) will travel to Greenbrier West that same night for its regular season finale.
C: 10 14 8 9 – 41
WE: 18 23 13 14 – 68
Alaira Evans 24, Jaiden Mahon 2, Haley Fleming 8, Daizi Farley 3, Jaycee Blair 2, Hannah Miller 2
Maddie Clark 14, Cadee Blackburn 23, Alivia Monroe 6, Kyndla Lusk 3, Gabby Cameron 7, Abi Baker 6, Alivia Monroe 6, Charleigh Price 7, Kenna Price 2
The official book had Baker and Monroe with six points each for WE. Lootpress statistics had Baker with 10 and Monroe with 2.