If there was any spot on the stat sheet that Gilmer County’s girls basketball team could point toward as the reason it defeated Wheeling Central in the Class A state tournament quarterfinals, it was the turnover column.
Gilmer, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, forced the sixth-seeded Maroon Knights into a Class A tournament-record 44 turnovers to win 75-63 on Thursday at the Charleston Coliseum.
“This has been our M.O. all season on the defensive end, picking up full-court pressure,” Titans coach Amy Chapman said. “They’re very defensively minded. We were happy to get after them, set the tone and get them on their heels.”
After Gilmer County took a 16-12 lead after the first quarter, the Maroon Knights bounced back to lead at halftime. Central went 13 of 21 from the field (62 percent) over the first two quarters and took a 35-30 lead into the half.
It was the third quarter, however, where fortunes turned.
Gilmer’s defensive pressure really got to Central in that period. Not only did turnovers on Central’s end lead to points on the Titans’ end, but it also hurt the Maroon Knights’ shooting. Central made just 4 of 16 shots in the third quarter (25 percent) and the Titans outscored the Knights 22-9.
Trinity Bancroft led Gilmer County with 35 point, while Malaysia Morgan added 12 points with seven rebounds and a team-high eight steals. Hannah White scored 19 points to lead Wheeling Central, but was tagged for 15 turnovers. Naliah Lekanudos scored 11 points with seven rebounds for the Maroon Knights.