FALLING ROCK, W.Va. -- Herbert Hoover guard Jordan Marshall penned one doozy of a final chapter to her career Thursday night.Marshall, along with point guard Makayla Shamblin, are the only two seniors on the Huskies' squad and both were recognized as part of Senior Night. As part of that ceremony, both players wrote blurbs that were read over the public address system before the game.Marshall's statement ended with a couple of sentences in which she dedicated her performance to her late father who passed away from brain cancer four years ago, leaving her in tears before the game even started.But in Rudy-like fashion, Marshall canned her first three 3-point attempts and played lock-down defense until reinforcements arrived in the second half, and in the end it was visiting Mingo Central that left in sadness after Hoover's 61-52 win.Marshall, who began her career three years ago on a Huskies squad that finished 9-11, helped Hoover (12-10) clinch a winning record. She was happy but spent after the game."It was a little nerve-wracking in the beginning but I feel like I really made [my dad] proud," Marshall said. "I wanted nothing but this victory. We wanted to come out with a winning season, we pushed for it, and the fact that we got it is just awesome."As it turned out, the Huskies had to push hard, fast and late to pull off a win.
After trailing by five at halftime, the Miners went on a 6-0 run out of the break to extend their lead to 33-22.But Hoover answered with an immediate 14-0 run capped off by, what else, a Marshall 3-pointer, and took a two-point lead into the final quarter.From there, it was sophomore Bethany Romine who arrived to the party just in time, draining four of her six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, sparking the Huskies to a 25-point frame and eventually a regular-season-closing win."Mostly it's just hitting some shots and it fuels itself," Hoover coach Greg Ullman said. "It's almost an animal once it gets going. We're so much more confident at home shooting the ball. What happens is when we hit a couple of shots our defensive energy really picks up. Then we get some turnovers and it just keeps rolling faster and faster."
The final tally on Mingo turnovers was 24, and while the taller Miners had an advantage down low, they couldn't deal with Hoover's late sharp-shooting or its chaotic defensive pressure."We didn't take care of the ball," Mingo Central coach David Hanshaw said. "When you break a trap, you have to get the ball to the middle and we were way too late to reverse the ball. We were standing and watching instead of moving the ball."While the night belonged in large part to Marshall, her senior teammate upheld her end of the bargain as well. Shamblin played all 32 minutes and, despite being the smallest player on the floor the whole game, grabbed six key rebounds to go with five assists and four points and really caused problems at the top of Hoover's 1-3-1 zone.Sophomore Bailey Aab also played a large part for Hoover as the 5-foot-8 post player was forced to bang down low while giving up several inches and a lot of muscle to two or three Mingo forwards. Her final tallies were nine points and 10 rebounds.
Romine led all scorers with 18 points and Marshall finished with 15. The duo combined to hit 11 3-pointers.All in all, it was an important win in what will possibly be the last home game for either Shamblin or Marshall."They've been around through the bad times," Ullman said. "When they first got here, we'd have eight kids on the team and we were getting beat 55-10 and 68-14. It's them and the group before them that started setting the foundation. We've come out of the depths, so to speak, and I think we're making progress all the time."Makayla Shamblin puts it all on the line every minute of every game. She plays as hard as she can play. Jordan is enigmatic. She's as good as she can be at times and as bad as she can be at times, but she's fought through it all and they've provided the spark to get us where we are."Ashley Curry had 13 points to lead Mingo Central and Chrissy Farmer finished with 11.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/Rpritt.