With less than 1 second left in the first quarter, starting guard Alaysha Taylor's right knee buckled. She was carried back to the bench by her coach and was later treated in the trainer's room.
Wheeling Central quickly found the confidence Valley lost in the second half.
Two members of the 2012 All-Tournament team - Colleen McCormick and Emily Bucon - led Central with 14 points each.
Their coach, Kurtz - who is in his 20th season guiding the Maroon Knights - has led his team to 18 state tournaments.
This is his 11th consecutive postseason with the Maroon Knights who also won the Class A title in 2008.
The second half belonged to Wheeling Central, which scored 32 points off turnovers.
"We just needed to wake up," said McCormick, who had 14 points and nine rebounds as the Maroon Knights outscored the Greyhounds 42-5 in the second half. "Once we got our reality check in the first half, we knew we just had to take over and start getting into our pace of the game."
"The press let us run our tempo of the game and not theirs," Bucon said. "I think we were playing how they wanted us to play in the first half and we just kind of took over."
Bucon finished with 14 points and eight assists.
The Maroon Knights will continue their title run against the Blue Devils (24-1), a 52-24 winner over Tygarts Valley, on Friday.
"When we play St. Marys it's pretty much a war out there. We are very familiar with them." Kurtz said.
Cantrell led his Valley to 13 wins this season and seems to be pleased his team's progress.
He had a huge smile on his face as he trotted across the Civic Center floor to shake hands with Kurtz during the game introductions.
"You've got to give credit to these young ladies ... they worked hard all year," Cantrell said. "Six games won last year and now they're at the state tournament. I'm so proud of them."