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State Tournament: Beauty pageants, hoops keep Holloway busy

By From staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Beauty pageants and basketball keep Morgantown senior Haley Holloway on her toes.

Holloway had six points in 16 minutes of Morgantown's 45-31 state tournament quarterfinal victory over Martinsburg (15-7), just five months after she was crowned 2013 Miss Teen West Virginia.

Her twin sister, Ashley Holloway, had three rebounds in 12 minutes of action.

While they are identical twins, it's not so obvious at first glance. Haley Holloway has long hair, while Ashley has her hair cut short.

"I think it was like a random thing, or like a bet," said Ashley, who had one point, three rebounds and an assist in 12 minutes. "I kind of lost, so I had to cut my hair."

As for Haley?

"I have to stick with the long hair for now," she said.

Morgantown's connection with beauty pageants extends to senior teammate Emily Sabatino, whose twin sister Elizabeth was crowned 2012 Miss Teen West Virginia. Elizabeth Sabatino went on to finish as first runner-up at Miss Teen USA, marking the highest finish ever for the West Virginia entrant at the national pageant.

"Emily Sabatino's twin sister as well was Miss Teen West Virginia last year, so it's kind of ironic that I played basketball and won it this year," Haley Holloway said. "I try to keep both balanced, my girlie side and my athletic side. It's a little tough, but I manage."

Morgantown (20-5) will continue its quest for the seventh state title in school history when the Mohigans play at 9 p.m. Friday against the winner of Wednesday's quarterfinal between Parkersburg South and Hedgesville.

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VALLEY'S 66-27 loss to Wheeling Central extended Region 3's Class A winless streak to nine games, dating to Charleston Catholic's first-round win over Tucker County in 2008.

Catholic has moved to Region 4 since, and of the teams that remain in Region 3, Midland Trail is the only school since 2000 to claim a state tournament win.

Trail advanced to the semifinals in 2001.

Montcalm, which won the Class A state title in 1980, is the only Region 3 team that has claimed a championship.

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THERE WERE  some familiar names on the dais for Martinsburg following the Bulldogs' 45-31 semifinal loss to Morgantown.

Two of the players, seniors Kieera Basey and Kiana Bullett, are related to a couple of famous West Virginians.

Basey, a 5-5 point guard, is the daughter of former Martinsburg star Nyesha Basey and the niece of former Martinsburg and West Virginia University standout Marsalis Basey.

Bullett is the niece of former Major League player Scott Bullett, who spent parts of three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs.

This was their third trip to the state tournament, where the Bulldogs fell in the quarterfinals every year. The last time Martinsburg reached the semifinals was 2009 - when both players were in the eighth grade.

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ST. JOSEPH will continue its quest for a Class A record fifth consecutive state title at 1 p.m. Friday when it faces the winner of Wednesday's Tucker County-Williamstown game.

The only other Class A team to win four straight championships was Mercer Christian, which won from 1999-2002.

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PHYSICAL PLAY and injuries were a hallmark of the first day of the tournament.

"I had to calm myself down and make sure I didn't do anything stupid," Spring Valley sophomore Brooke Heck said after the Class AAA No. 1 seed Timberwolves beat Capital 84-60.

Hard fouls led to at least three occasions when two or more players crashed to the floor, a theme that was consistent throughout the day. As a result, several players spent considerable time on the bench nursing injuries.

Valley senior Alexis Payne got tangled up with Wheeling Central's Colleen McCormick in the morning session, a violent collision that sent Payne to the bench for much of the second half with an injured shoulder. Earlier in that game, Valley junior guard Alayasha Taylor injured her knee and was carried off the court, not to return.

Morgantown senior guard Leah Taylor, who had spent much of the last week on crutches after injuring her ankle in regional play, tweaked the ankle in the second quarter of the Mohigans' win over Martinsburg, but was able to return.

Spring Valley's McKenzie Morris injured her left foot after coming down awkwardly on it after hitting a 3-pointer in the first half against Capital. Morris did not return.


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