CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Spring Valley has started its 2013-14 girls basketball season on somewhat of a tour, playing teams from three states in its first three games.
The Class AAA No. 2 Timberwolves claimed their third win of the young season Thursday night, getting out to a big lead on host No. 9 George Washington before holding off the Patriots' starters with reserves through much of the fourth quarter for a 61-48 win.
"We could have beat them by 40 if I wanted to," Spring Valley Coach Bo Miller said after GW outscored his club 20-8 in the fourth quarter.
Spring Valley led 38-13 at halftime, benefiting from 17 GW turnovers before intermission. The Timberwolves had 30 rebounds in the opening quarters to GW's 18.
"We knew they had a few big girls out tonight and we knew we could get to the glass," Miller said. "We knew we were going to press, because that's what we do.
"We called it off on them there and they started pressing our JVs," he added.
George Washington senior Kelli Jo Harrison, the team's primary threat in the frontcourt, is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament she suffered last spring.
The Timberwolves, who reached the Class AAA State Tournament semifinals last season, opened the year with wins over Ironton (Ohio) and Boyd County (Ky.) with their 2013 starting lineup intact, a year older, stronger and faster.
Junior All-State forward Madison Morris scored a game-high 20 points and finished with a double-double by grabbing a game-high 16 rebounds.
Spring Valley point guard Sarah Kelly sat most of the second quarter after picking up her second and third fouls in quick succession. She finished with just four points but led all players with 10 assists and five steals.
"We definitely wanted to look inside and try to post up where we had an advantage or a mismatch," Morris said. "Sometimes we didn't get that but we probably should have focused on it more."
Miller and the Timberwolves pulled back their defensive pressure in the third quarter, and it gave GW an opportunity to gain confidence and momentum that were visibly lacking in the first half. The teams played to a 15-15 draw through the third quarter, with junior Maria Romeo particularly finding her shot.