CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston turned up its defensive pressure Wednesday night against St. Albans, and it shook the Red Dragons out of their wits.
The Black Eagles benefited from 18 SA turnovers in the final three quarters, got a total of seven blocked shots from sophomore Talia Cashwell and freshman Rhea Smith and held off St. Albans for a 48-40 girls basketball win at South Charleston High School.
"We thought we could put enough pressure on their guards to not let them totally get into their offensive sets," SC Coach Gary Greene said. "The kids did a nice job on that. Our legs were fresh, we ran in enough kids at them and like I said, it was just an overall team effort as far as the defensive side."
The win avenged a 58-54 setback suffered by South Charleston (5-2) at the hands of St. Albans (5-2) on Dec. 27 at the South Charleston Community Center. Unlike that game, Greene said Wednesday's affair saw his club play much-improved defense against St. Albans standout and leading scorer Breanna Propst.
Propst was held in check through much of Wednesday's game, and finished with just one bucket and 10 total points.
Still, with little more than two minutes left in the third quarter South Charleston clung to a 25-21 lead. At that point, freshman guard Aaliyah Dunham drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give the Black Eagles breathing room with a 31-21 lead and momentum that lasted through the remainder of the game.
"It was huge," Greene said of the turn of events. "We made a couple offensive adjustments to get her into the gap on a couple sides of the wings of their defense and she responded. She hit some nice shots, though the free-throw thing, she won't want to talk about that part of it, but that's just something we've got to work on."
St. Albans (5-2) was able to cut into the lead in the fourth quarter as South Charleston repeatedly missed free throws and the Dragons found themselves in the double bonus with more than five minutes left. SC (5-2) made just 8-of-19 foul shots and Dunham - who led all players with 13 points - was 0-for-4 from the line.