CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fairmont Senior used solid, pressure defense to work its way through the regular season and into the girls high school state tournament.
On Thursday night, a solid defensive effort carried the fifth-seeded Polar Bears into the state semifinals as Fairmont rolled to a 72-56 quarterfinal win over No. 4 Clay County at the Charleston Civic Center.
Fairmont (19-6) will face top-seeded Westside (24-1) tonight at 7:15, with a championship game berth on the line, while the Panthers' season ended at 18-7.
The Polar Bears' tough, man-to-man defense forced Clay County into a 19-of-63 (30.2 percent) shooting performance, while also forcing 27 turnovers.
"We played real well on the end and we were able to get into transition, which helped us out a lot," Fairmont Coach Corey Hines said. "Our defense is the key to our team. We're able to limit teams to one shot and then we're able to get in those lanes and we're able to finish.
"That puts us in the position that we feel if we're able to get the most layups, we're going to win the game."
Like Clay County, Fairmont struggled to take care of the basketball, finishing with 32 turnovers, but for Hines, it's a price he's willing to pay in order to press the tempo and parlay that pressure into an up-tempo game.
"Usually when you play transition basketball, that's going to happen," said Hines of his team's turnover total.