AP NEWS

Wayne claims sectional crown

February 23, 2019

WAYNE — In a battle of Class AA girls basketball heavyweights on Friday, Wayne landed a pair of haymakers on Sissonville.

The first staggered the Indians to start the game before the final blow knocked Sissonville to the floor just as the Indians showed signs of life.

Wayne scored the game’s first 12 points and then ripped off 19 straight in between the third and fourth quarters to earn a 72-47 win over Sissonville in the Class AA, Region IV, Section 1 girls championship at Pioneer Gym on Friday night.

With the win, Wayne (22-3) will host Logan on Wednesday night in the Class AA, Region IV co-final while Sissonville will travel to Chapmanville in the other Class AA, Region IV co-final. The Tigers defeated Logan, 52-40, on Wednesday.

“With a 12-point lead at halftime, I told the kids that they were going to make a run, so we have to be ready and withstand that run,” Wayne coach Wade Williamson said. “If we could withstand it, we’d be fine. We withstood it and made some shots. It was a good total effort from our girls.”

For both sides, the outcome came down to energy and execution — two factors that were lopsidedly in the Pioneers’ favor, according to Sissonville coach Rich Skeen.

“Just the number of mistakes that we made from three senior starters, that’s just unreal,” Skeen said. “I didn’t think there was anybody on our team that responded to Wayne’s intensity in the first quarter. We just never did.”

Wayne’s early surge forced Sissonville to come out and guard the Pioneers, which led to a counter-punch in the second half after the Indians made a run.

Sissonville trailed by as many as 21 in the first half, but cut the lead to 42-37 on a 3-pointer by Lindsey Ullman with 2:30 left in the third quarter.

However, Wayne’s Lakyn Adkins took the game over from there, getting to the foul line for a pair of free throws before getting a steal and 3-point play that turned the game’s momentum and restored the Pioneers’ double-digit lead.

That five-point spurt started

a 19-0 run by the Pioneers, who took advantage of Sissonville’s need to extend its defense in an effort to get back in the game. With the defense extended, Adkins and Sara Hooks went to work in one-on-one situations, beating their defender before dishing off for easy baskets.

Adkins finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and five steals to lead a balanced effort from the Pioneers. Hooks also had 11 points and eight rebounds with four assists - all in the second half.

For Adkins, the big performance came after a game in which she was frustrated after scoring just four points and fouling out in the fourth quarter during Wednesday’s win over Nitro.

“I was just smarter about the game tonight,” Adkins said. “I think I stressed myself out a bit on Wednesday. Today, I was just relaxed and kept my cool. It feels good when that first shot goes.”

Those figures were part of an overall big effort on each end from the Pioneers. Williamson said the job of Whitney Sansom and Haley Wallace on Sissonville’s Laila Arthur, one of the state’s top scorers, was as crucial as any offensive output on the night.

Arthur came in averaging 35.5 points in her last four games, but Sansom and Wallace hounded Arthur throughout. Arthur finished with 17 points due to a strong effort at the foul line, but she finished 4-of-12 from the floor and had just one field goal in the second half - that coming with 46 seconds left.

“They didn’t do anything that we didn’t expect them to do against her,” Skeen said. “We just didn’t fight through it.”

In addition to those efforts, Wayne got a career-high 18 points from freshman Jasmine Tabor and 16 from Alanna Eves.

For Tabor, this postseason is her first after watching Wayne’s run to the Class AA semifinals last season as a middle-schooler. In Wednesday’s win over Nitro, Tabor had a pair of key baskets in the fourth quarter that fueled the Pioneers late and that momentum carried into Friday’s career game.

Tabor credited the support of the crowd and her teammates as a motivating factor for the entire team’s performance on Friday.

“You can see the community really loves to come out and support us, and I think that means a lot to us as a team,” Tabor said. “I really couldn’t wait for this and I’m glad I’m getting to experience this now, especially considering my team is always behind me and they support me.”

Adkins scored the game’s first seven points as Wayne reeled off the first 12 of the evening. However, that surge came on the strength of its defense, which limited Sissonville to just one field goal in the first 13:15 of action as the lead grew to 32-11.

Arthur was able to get a 3-point play that propelled Sissonville on an 11-2 run to end the first half, which cut Wayne’s lead to 34-22 and Sissonville followed with a 9-2 run to open the second half that cut the deficit to 36-31. The Indians got it to five on two other occasions before Wayne’s big run to put the game away.

After shooting 3-of-20 in the first quarter in Wednesday’s win over Nitro, Wayne was 10-of-15 from the floor in the first quarter against the Indians.

The Pioneers finished the game 23 of 43 (53 percent) while also hitting 21 of 29 free throws. Sissonville struggled to a 29 percent shooting effort (13 of 45), but hit 17 of 19 free throws to help them stay close into the third quarter.

SISSONVILLE 9 13 15 10 — 47: Arthur 17, Ullman 9, Bays 9, McCutcheon 6, Bailey 4, Farmer 2

WAYNE 24 10 15 23 — 72: Sansom 5, Adkins 19, Eves 16, Stroud 3, Hooks 11, Tabor 18