WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — The No. 2 ranked Mingo Central Lady Miners left zero doubt that they should be the top ranked team in Class AA as they defeated No. 1 Wyoming East 45-39 on Saturday night to win the second Annual Battle for the Springhouse which was played inside Colonial Hall at The Greenbrier.
The win for the Lady Miners came on the heels of a 53-44 triumph over 4A Greenbrier East on Friday night as they improved to 17-1 on the season with two wins now in their back pocket over the top-ranked Lady Warriors.
“It was definitely a statement win for sure, and our kids really wanted to come out make that statement,” Mingo Central coach Kim Davis Smith said.
The Lady Miners never trailed on Saturday against Wyoming East as they were in control from start to finish. They raced out to a 13-5 lead after the first quarter of play and never looked back.
MCHS advanced to lead to nine at 23-14 going into halftime but Wyoming East was able to cut into the lead in the third quarter as Mingo led 29-22 going into the fourth quarter.
In the final stanza the Lady Warriors made a rally and cut the lead down to three at 33-30 after a trey from Cadee Blackburn but Mingo’s Addie Smith came up big like we always does and answered Blackburn’s trey with two of her own to put the game on ice.
“Wyoming East is a very talented team. They are very physical and well coached, much respect to them,” Davis Smth said. “I was so proud of our kids. I think we gained some more confidence in some of our other players. Addie (Smith) needs to do what she needs to do to win, but we need everybody. And those other role players stepped up and did what they needed to do last night in moments when the team really needed them.”
Smith paced Mingo with 17 points while fellow sophomore Dalaney Grimmett joined her in double-figures with 10 points on 4-5 shooting.
6’3” center Jenna Sparks added six points but dominated the paint with 11 rebounds and three blocked shots while Alyssa Davis, Madisyn Curry, and Bella Hall rounded out the Miners offense with four points each.
“This was just a great win overall for our kids. They just continue to gain confidence,” Davis Smith said. “I think the win at home against Wyoming East was a huge confidence builder. I’ve told them from the beginning that I feel like we can finish in Charleston on a Saturday. I just see them continuing to believe in themselves, and as a coach that’s what you really want to see.”
In the win the night prior against Greenbrier East, the Lady Miners once again led from start to finish to knock off Governor Jim Justice’s squad who was the defending tournament champions.
“We knew that Greenbrier East was going to be a challenge,” Davis Smith said. “It’s a 4A school, they are very physical, and they are Governor Justice’s team so we knew we would have a tough game that first night. We were prepared for that. They tried to rally back on us, but we weathered that storm.”
The Lady Miners raced out to a quick 16-9 lead after the first quarter of action and then extended that lead to nine as they went into the break on top 30-21.
MCHS pushed that lead to double-digits as they were on top 43-32 going into the fourth quarter where they had to stave off a furious Greenbrier East rally to advance to Saturday’s championship game.
Mingo Central had a balanced attack against the Lady Spartans with four players landing in double-figures. Addie Smith tossed in 16 points, seven assists, and three steals while Jenna Sparks notched a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, five blocked shots, and three steals.
“Our defense was pretty spot on,” Davis Smith said. “Jenna (Sparks) really creates some issues inside. Her length and size is tough to deal with for other teams. On Friday night against Greenbrier East, we utilized a triangle and two which we had not played all year. And we played it for the whole game. I was really proud of them for stepping up to the occasion both nights.”
Madisyn Curry added 11 points and seven rebounds while Dalaney Grimmett chipped in 10 points.
After the weekend coach Kim Davis Smith had time to reflect on the trip and how much that the experience will help the team moving forward as they prepare for a potential run for the Class AA State Championship at the Charleston Civic Center.
“Our goal obviously was to come and win this tournament, but it was also to prepare us for sectionals, regionals, and ultimately the state tournament,” Davis Smith said. “I really feel like that this weekend truly prepared us for that...We came here on Thursday and left on Sunday. It was really good preparation with great competition for our team and moving forward with the rest of the season.”
Coach Davis Smith said that the entire weekend was one to remember for her and her team including everything off the court which included a speaking engagement with former WVU basketball star Meg Bulger and a tour of the of the historic Bunker located inside The Greenbrier.
“The venue was just special,” Davis Smith said. “If you love basketball, and love The Greenbrier, and love West Virginia then it is a match made in heaven. I was a little giddy personally for sure and just so excited for our kids. Basketball has afforded me a lot of opportunities to travel quite a bit, but just to have that venue there at The Greenbrier was pretty special.”
The Lady Miners have two games left on the regular season schedule and they both will come against ranked teams.
On Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. they will play Class A No. 7 Gilmer County in the Par Mar Stores Shootout at WV State University before ending the week with a rematch at Class AA No. 3 and regional foe Summers County on Saturday. MCHS defeated the Lady Bobcats 49-39 back on Jan. 21 atop Miner Mountain.
Score by Quarters
MCHS: 13 10 6 16 — 45
WEHS: 5 9 8 17 — 39
MC: A. Smith 17, D. Grimmett 10, J. Sparks 6, B. Hall 4, M. Curry 4, A. Davis 4, M. Adkins 0
WE: C. Blackburn 13, M. Clark 10, K. Bane 6, A. Monroe 5, C. Lookabill 5
Score by Quarters
MCHS: 16 14 13 10 — 53
GEHS: 9 12 11 12 — 44
MC: A. Smith 16, J. Sparks 14, M. Curry 11, D. Grimmett 10, A. Davis 2, B. Hall 0, M. Adkins 0
GE: C. Dotson 16, C. Stewart 9, K. Stewart 9, R. White 6, A. Wooding 2, H. Fuller 2