SISSONVILLE, W.Va. -- On Saturday afternoon, Sissonville showed the ability to beat a quality opponent even when much of the game is ugly, which for the Indians is much better than the other way around.Class AA No. 7 Sissonville overcame some frigid early shooting and some defensive miscues to score a 64-53 home win over Class A No. 5 Wheeling Central.The Indians (10-2) shot just 3 for 24 in the first period but the Maroon Knights weren't much better at 3 for 10.And when the shots started falling more frequently as the game progressed, the Indians slowly pulled away.
"We told them, 'We don't know what the score would've been at the end of the first, you missed so many layups it was unreal' - we missed enough layups to have a 20-point lead," Sissonville coach Rich Skeen said. "For some reason, when our offense is down, our defense carries over. That was probably our worst defensive effort all season."But in [the locker room] I told them, 'A win is a win and we'll take it.' We won't look back."Credit sophomore Madison Jones for not looking back either.After a shaky 1-for-9 start in the first quarter, the point guard kept firing and broke out of her mini-slump to finish with a game-best 24 points, 17 of which came over the second and third quarters. The Indians outscored the Maroon Knights by 14 in those periods. "Early in the third quarter we got going, got a couple of fast breaks and got some open 3 looks off of it," Skeen said. "They work hard enough and you've just got to keep shooting and they're confident to do that, so I don't have to worry about that."Jones' fellow backcourt mates also continued to fire and contribute in other ways as senior Brittany Gould went for 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals and sophomore Karli Pinkerton recorded 13 points, five rebounds and five assists.Aside from scoring, the three are also good ball-handlers, which came into play in the fourth quarter as Sissonville milked the clock and sat on its lead.Gould, who transferred from Clay County before the season, is the most experienced player on the team in terms of high school minutes played, but she joined a starting five that included three sophomores and a junior who have all played together for a long time.After averaging 21.3 points for the Panthers last season, Gould's transition onto a talented Sissonville roster could have been a bit rocky, but Skeen said that has been far from the case."They have really accepted her and it's been a really good fit," Skeen said. "You could see at the end that any one of them can handle the ball and do some things.""Brittany has been good. She averaged more points last year at Clay and she's had to give up a little bit too, but it's a good dynamic. It's helped her, it's helped us - it's been good."
It was the second game in two days for Wheeling Central (8-6) after it won Friday night at Charleston Catholic.The trip afforded the Maroon Knights the opportunity to square off with two quality teams, something coach Penn Kurtz said is important this time of year."That's what we want to do - our goal every year is to get ready for the state tournament," Kurtz said. "This is a good way to do it, come down here and play two good teams on the road and learn all the things you have to do when you travel. We'll build on this."Regan Blaha led Central with 17 points on an efficient 6-for-11 shooting while Lindsey Baker had 13 points and 10 rebounds and MacKenzie Michaels chipped in with 10 points and eight boards.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.