Hurricane's Chloe Barber (right) reaches to contest a shot by South Charleston's Gel Villanueva.
HURRICANE - South Charleston shook off some rust Wednesday evening, but not enough to coach Gary Greene's liking.Senior forward Keke Allen scored 21 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, blocked three shots and came up with two steals as the Black Eagles' athleticism powered them past host Hurricane 71-50.A crowd of about 75 attended the Class AAA Mountain State Athletic Conference matchup.The Black Eagles (6-0), who were No. 1 in the first Associated Press regular-season poll Monday after earning the top spot in the preseason, hadn't played a game since Dec. 20. Since then, Greene has been using practice to clean up SC's deficiencies, but wasn't impressed with the results. "We didn't do any of the little things we've been working on,'' he said. "We've been off 15 days and this was the way I was afraid we'd play. I'm not going to bail the kids out of this. They've played enough games to know if a shot goes up, they've got to rebound the ball."This was not a very good effort. We had individuals that did a nice job. We can get kids to do it, but it's not our better kids. That's why we subbed so much to try to reach somebody. We'll put the kids on the floor that'll take care of the little things. We've got a lot of work to do.''SC senior post Gel Villanueva added 15 points and 15 boards while senior guard Alexxis Tunstalle chipped in 15 points, nine boards and three steals. Black Eagles senior all-state guard Brittany Gordon, who leads the MSAC in scoring at 26.0 points per game, finished with three points and sat out most of the second half with an illness.
"You want to see kids get better,'' said Greene, who has saw SC lose the past two seasons in the state championship game. "We're no better than we were the second game of the season. We're living on athletic ability right now, and we've got to stop that."We've got to start doing the fundamental things. We're going to run into teams that are just as athletic as us and the ones that execute . . . that's what we've been harping on for two and three years. Those little things, we just don't get it done.''Senior guard Allie Browne's 3-pointer, her second of the opening quarter Wednesday, pulled Hurricane within 10-9 with 2:38 left in the period. The Black Eagles, though, ended with a 6-0 run on putbacks from Allen and Villanueva and a layup by Allen for a 16-9 lead.SC used a 15-2 run in the second quarter to take a 33-15 advantage and never relented. Allen contributed six points during the surge, while senior guard Sierra Moore had five. Hurricane committed seven of its 17 turnovers in the second period and found itself trailing 36-19 at halftime."If we learn how to box out, we'll be fine,'' said Hurricane first-year coach Perry Estep, whose team has been competitive this season with the upper-tier teams of the MSAC. "We've got to learn the fundamentals of basketball and have a little bit of savvy. As far as our grit and determination goes, I think we can play with anybody in the conference.''Freshman guard Abby Watson turned in 23 points for Hurricane (5-3), and Browne finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals. Redskins sophomore forward Taneisha Sturdavent contributed eight points and 10 boards.Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org