Prep basketball: GW girls loss comes with silver lining
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington's season-opening loss to Spring Valley on Dec. 12 had a considerable silver lining to Patriots girls basketball coach Jamie LaMaster.
"It was a physical basketball game. I don't want to say they were hard fouls. They were going for the ball, but it got a little physical," LaMaster said of the Timberwolves' pressure defense.
"I thought our kids did a good job of maintaining and controlling their emotions. All those kids - Kelli's on the sideline - and I don't have a senior on the floor playing," LaMaster said. "Sarah Miller played a little bit, but other than that we're very young. Tonight you saw five juniors and two sophomores and then Sarah's few minutes were the only time a senior saw the floor."
Senior forward Kelli Jo Harrison did not play for GW (0-1) in the opener. She is awaiting clearance to return to action following summer surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. LaMaster said in late November that Harrison could be back in the lineup by New Year's.
One particular positive that came out of the 61-48 loss to Spring Valley was the play of junior Maria Romeo. She led the Patriots with 13 points and six rebounds after being shut out of the scoring column in the first half.
"This was her first varsity start," LaMaster said. "I thought there were times when I saw her get rattled a little bit but it's going to get better over time. She's capable of doing that."
THE TIE for the preseason No. 2 spot in Class AAA seems to have been settled pretty quickly.
Spring Valley (3-0) has smothered its early season opponents with its pressure defense, athletic frontcourt and the skill of junior Sarah Kelly running the point. The team that eliminated the Timberwolves from the 2013 State Tournament, on the other hand, is off to a rocky start.
Logan (0-2) entered the year tied with Spring Valley behind top-ranked and defending state champion Parkersburg South at No. 2 in the Class AAA preseason poll. The Wildcats, led by Marshall commitment Shayna Gore, have fallen in road games at unranked South Charleston and at Chapmanville in a neutral-site game against five-time defending Class A state champion St. Joseph.
The Irish (4-1) shellacked Logan 75-46 on Saturday evening.
Kelly, a second-team All-State pick last season, acknowledged that polls are little more than conversation starters early in the season, but noted that her team's positive start is a welcome turnaround from her sophomore season.
"This is a lot different from last season. Last season we started off 0-2 and now we're 3-0," Kelly said. "We started off losing last season then went on an 18-game winning streak.
"It's important to get off to a good start then keep pushing through. We've got to get going good from the very beginning."
George Washington returns to action Tuesday, when the Patriots play rival South Charleston at home. GW has scheduled games at Winfield and at home against Ashland Paul Blazer (Ky.) before Jan. 1.
STATE VOTERS might also have mixed up a pair of Catholic-school programs when casting preseason votes. Charleston Catholic (2-0) was unranked in the preseason poll, but went to rival Parkersburg Catholic on Dec. 12 and got a 52-51 win over the Crusaderettes, who fell to 1-3.
Parkersburg Catholic entered the season ranked sixth in the Class A poll. Charleston Catholic, meanwhile, opened its season with an 84-23 rout of unranked Wirt County (0-3).
IN BOYS basketball, what could have proven to be a key early season showdown among Mountain State Athletic Conference teams has been scratched from this week's schedule.
Capital (1-0) was scheduled to travel to Huntington (1-0) tonight, but the Cougars' scheduling snafu from 2013 cost the team - and fans - an opportunity to get a pre-Christmas clash of clubs that both return a strong amount of their 2013 lineups.
Capital played 23 regular-season games during the 2012-13 season, which is one more than allowed by the Secondary School Activities Commission. As a result, the school was penalized a date from this year's schedule.
The absence of the game will not hurt Capital's standing in the MSAC, however. Only games played within a team's division count toward standings that determine what teams play for the conference championship at the Night of Champions in February.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at email@example.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.